It wasn't pretty, it wasn't dominant, but damn was it impressive. The Colts jumped out to a 13 - 0 lead, and never relinquished it, beating the Broncos 27-13 Sunday afternoon. The game was over, at least in my eyes, when the Broncos went for it on 4th and 3 from the 12, down by 7 points. When I saw Kyle Orton trot back onto the field, I had only one thought:
It's the 4th and 2 situation all over again.
I really wish I could find some numbers on what the expected points would be in that situation, whether they'd kick the field goal or go for the TD, so that one could see that statistically, it makes sense to go for it, much like the 4th and 2. However, 99% of the time a coach will kick that Field Goal, especially with over 9:00 left in the game. But that 1% is when you're facing Peyton Manning. Much like Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on 4th and 2, Josh McDaniels felt better about his offense picking up the 4th down, than to let Manning have the ball back, still with the lead. As we saw on the ensuing drive, it probably was the right decision, even though the outcome didn't work out for him.
Some fun stats from the game:
- CBS flashed a stat up at the end of the game that it was the first time in Manning's career that he had thrown for 3 TDs with 0 INTs in three consecutive games. What they didn't tell you was it was the first time in NFL history a QB has done it in their team's first 3 games of the season.
- Also from Elias, Orton's 476 yards passing was the most by a player whose team did not score 2 TDs in NFL History, surpassing the old mark of 441 yards held by Joe Montana. I'll save the Purdue/Notre Dame jokes for later...
- The Colts were outgained by the Broncos, but still won the game. Since 2001, in games where the Colts were outgained yardage-wise, they are 30-22. That's quite impressive, to be over .500 when outgained by your opponent.
- CBS was wrong about one other thing, and I missed this last week. If you include the playoffs, Manning threw his 400th career TD last week against the Giants, even though CBS said it happened on Sunday. I trust Pro-Football-Reference more than I do CBS.
- Guess who is leading the NFL in receptions, yards, and receiving TDs?
After the jump, we'll take a look at the Winning Stats to see how the Colts fared...
Full Stats from Week 3:
|Statistic||Offense||Rank||Defense||Rank||Off/Def Above||Off/Def Below||Record|
|Avg Start Pos||28.6||17||25.6||7||N||N||7-3|
|3 and Outs||4||23||2||21||N||Y||3-5|
|Penalty Yds / Play||0.415||2||0.789||21||N||N||4-3|
|Net Punts Yds/Game||38.33||18||46.33||26||N||N||5-2|
|Ranking - Week (32)||14||14||13|
|Ranking - Season (96)||32||59||43|
- Like I said in the intro, it certainly didn't look like the Colts dominated the game (except on the scoreboard), and the stats agree. A lot of above average stats in the important offensive categories, but unimpressive rankings for the week.
- Clearly, Red Zone Efficiency was the biggest factor in the game, and has been very important so far in the entire NFL (you'll see the data below). The Broncos only scored 17% of the possible points in the red zone (6/35), while the Colts scored over 80% of theirs. When you have that big of a disparity, it makes it very difficult to win.
- Also playing an important part are Turnovers (who knew?) and 3rd/4th Down Conversion Rate. While the actual percentage is still below Colts standards, it's better than the league average, so it's a good start for the Offense. Hopefully it continues.
- Rushing offense was pitifully bad, and it's squarely on the shoulders of the Offensive Lineman. The rush defense? Outstanding once again. Somebody definitely got in the ears of those D-Lineman, and it's worked the past 2 games.
Season Stats through 3 Weeks:
|Avg Start Pos||28.7||20||Bears||26.4||6||Bears||21-6||0.778|
|3 and Outs||2.67||5||Cowboys||3.67||13||Chiefs||10-8||0.556|
|Penalty Yds / Play||0.760||12||Dolphins||0.711||24||Raiders||14-10||0.583|
|Net Punts Yds/Game||35.69||26||Raiders||42.18||25||Jaguars||11-10||0.524|
A couple things:
- When you've thrown over 1000 yards, 9 TDs, and 0 INTs in your first 3 games, it should be expected that the Colts lead the league in ANPY/A, at over 9.0 / Attempt. Not surprised.
- The Colts are ranked #2 in the league, on both offense and defense in Red Zone Efficiency. It is virtually impossible to beat the Colts when they are this good in the Red Zone.
- The 3 most important stats in 2010 so far were the 3 stats the Colts excelled at on Sunday: Turnovers, Red Zone Efficiency, and 3rd/4th Down Conversions.
- Overall, a little bit of a drop on both sides, but combined the Colts are still #4, behind the Falcons, Chargers, and Packers. Yes, I know 2 of those team lost this weekend. It's all based on the numbers (but I'm thinking of looking at a Special Teams component, as the Chargers are terrible at it).