One is an example. Two is a coincidence. Three is a trend.
While Sunday afternoon inside Lucas Oil Stadium wasn't the blowout the past two Sundays have been, the 34-28 win over the Seahawks was even more satisfying than the two previous weeks. It showed me, without a shadow of a doubt, this team can absolutely win the Super Bowl this year, something I wouldn't have dreamed of saying just three weeks ago. It's also the third straight week I haven't been able to sit and watch with my full attention, so maybe there's something to that as well...
I just watched the game in about 25 minutes thanks to Short Cuts, and I was very impressed with the resolve of this team after getting down early, and how they finished the game in the 4th quarter. The Time of Possession in the 4th quarter? 12:11 for the Colts, 2:49 for the Seahawks. According to ProFootballReference, the Colts had a 16% chance to win the game when facing 3rd and 10 with 14 minutes remaining. Seattle was called for a Pass Interference penalty on T.Y. Hilton, and the win percentage just went up from there. That was a big, big play in the game. Glad the Colts could catch the break in that situation, and even more glad they could take advantage of it.
I think we saw flashes of the Trent Richardson in the second half that we're all hoping to see for many years to come. I'd argue, though, that he wasn't that bad in the first half either, and the Colts became very predictable in their play calling, to the detriment of Richardson. In the first half, he picked up a 3rd and 1 (oh no, only 1 yard per carry!), then the very next play was a play action to Richardson, Earl Thomas bit from his deep right zone, and Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton burned him for 73 yards. Helping the pass game is essential, and he certainly did on that play.
The Colts ran 26 plays on first down, and 17 of them were runs. In the second half, it was 11 running plays on 15 first downs. Now, those 4th quarter runs on first down were successful almost every time, so if the argument is their goal was to wear down the defense then power run, I'd be ok. But watching it live made it seem like they were running on every first down, and Richardson was getting stuffed. It's a bad thing if something like that becomes noticeable on television, because assuredly the other team will notice as well. All this being said, the Colts were fantastic in the 4th quarter, so maybe they know what they are doing.
As we all expected, Robert Mathis upped his NFL lead in sacks to 9.5 with a pair on Russell Wilson, and it also gets him to 101 career sacks, just the 30th player in NFL history with 100+ sacks. Reggie Wayne had six catches Sunday, leaving him four catches shy of 1000 for his career. We'll undoubtedly see him get there Monday night in San Diego.
According to Elias, Sunday's game was the first time since 1989 that a blocked punt and a blocked field goal ended in points in the same game. It doesn't seem that it would be that rare, but I guess it makes sense. There is also this, a pretty cool nugget from Elias, and I'm very glad Luck was on the winning side, even though in actuality QB Wins are absolutely meaningless:
Luck defeats Wilson in a first-of-its-kind NFL game
The Colts overcame an early 12-0 deficit with a fourth-quarter rally to defeat the Seahawks, 34-28, in a game that was the first of its kind in NFL history. Andrew Luck faced Russell Wilson; never before had a pair of second-year quarterbacks, each with at least 10 previous victories, started head-to-head. And in this case, both QBs have far exceeded that total. Following Sunday's game, both Luck and Wilson have a 15-6 record as starting QBs. Sunday's game was also the first matchup of second-year quarterbacks who both started a playoff game in the previous season.
The Colts looked really good on the field Sunday. Just how good? Let's dive into the numbers and find out.
Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 5:
|Statistic||Offense||Rank||Defense||Rank||Off/Def Above||Off/Def Below||Record|
|Orange Zone Eff||71.4%||7||59.2%||14||N||N||4-0|
|Avg Start Pos||20.9||24||31.8||22||N||Y||7-1|
|3 and Outs||3||8||3||10||N||N||3-2|
|Penalty Yds / Play||0.583||8||1.269||4||Y||N||3-5|
|Ranking - Week (28)||5||16||7|
|Ranking - Season (154)||25||92||50|
Adjusted Stats for Week 5:
|Statistic||Offense||Rank||Defense||Rank||Off/Def Above||Off/Def Below||Record|
|Orange Zone Eff||69.4%||7||63.0%||17||N||N||4-0|
|Avg Start Pos||25.1||18||26.3||15||N||Y||7-1|
|3 and Outs||3.0||13||3.3||16||N||N||3-2|
|Penalty Yds / Play||0.225||2||0.908||12||Y||N||3-5|
|Ranking - Week (28)||2||14||3|
|Ranking - Season (154)||9||85||17|
- The second best Offensive day in the NFL, and the 3rd best overall game, only bested by the Bengals and 49ers. When I said the Colts had a great day, I meant it and can back it up.
- Just imagine what the Offensive stats would be if those first three drives weren't included. The Colts finished in the top 6 in the league in almost every drive-related stat. The Drive Success Rate was phenomenal.
- Sunday was Andrew Luck's best day throwing the ball this season, and it isn't really close, against the best secondary in the NFL. Passing wins, and without Luck playing like that, the Colts had no chance. He was also awesome on 3rd Down, converting nearly 60% of them.
- The two Colts turnovers are deceiving. One was the blocked punt, and the second should have been a penalty for a blow to the QBs head, which went uncalled, and Luck lost a fumble. Not concerned about this at all.
- The Colts were fantastic converting their long drives into points, converting 71% of points inside the 35, and every point possible inside the Red Zone. That's how you beat really good teams. Couple this with the Defense holding the Seahawks to field goals five times, one of which was the blocked one returned for a TD, and the point swing was huge.
- The Defense played above average as well, and shined in two specific areas: Stopping the pass (8th this week), and especially on 3rd/4th down, holding them to just 20%. When they got the chance to get the Seahawks off the field, they did it time and time again. It was great scheming, and great play against a pesky Russell Wilson.
- Take a look at the two running game stats, and how they contrast themselves. The Colts were quite good at RB Success Rate on both Offense and Defense, but the Seahawks were better on Yards per Carry. The Colts gave up nearly 6.5 yards per carry, and did it matter? The Seahawks had either a big run, or got absolutely nothing. And again, teams that were above average on both Offense and Defense in Yards per Carry went 2-5 on the weekend.
Season Stats through Week 5 (Adjusted):
|Orange Zone Eff||60.2%||12||Dolphins||57.8%||20||Patriots||27-6||0.818|
|Avg Start Pos||27.2||23||Chiefs||25.2||4||Chiefs||34-5||0.872|
|3 and Outs||1.92||6||Eagles||2.68||26||Giants||26-10||0.722|
|Penalty Yds / Play||0.461||3||Panthers||0.699||25||Seahawks||20-19||0.513|
- Now that we have five weeks of data, it's starting to look much, much better when adjusting for opponent. It also shows the Colts are ranked #4 overall.
- On Offense the Colts rank #2, but at this point that's the best the Colts could hope for with how well the Broncos are playing. They lead the league in Turnovers, Time of Possession per Drive, and Plays per Drive, while they rank second in Drive Success Rate and 3rd/4th Down percentage. They are rolling.
- The Defense continues to improve, but are playing really well against the pass (woohoo), and at forcing turnovers at 2 per game. They are also pretty good on 3rd/4th Down, as we saw Sunday. Continued improvement is all I ask.
There is a very good chance we could see this Seahawks team playing in the Super Bowl in February, as they are very, very good. And the Colts were better than them on Sunday. A lot better. There are still some issues that need to be worked out, which is a good thing so they keep improving, but I'm really excited about this team. You should be too.