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2014 NFL Week Four: Inside the Colts Numbers

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Another game against the AFC South, and another blowout win for the Colts. Pretty awesome they get to play in the AFC South, huh?

Joe Robbins

Anyone panicking any more?

The Colts destroyed their second straight AFC South opponent Sunday, blitzing the Titans 41-17. The game was really never in doubt, with the only iffy part coming when Andrew Luck threw an interception with under a minute to go in the first half and the Titans scored a touchdown to make it 20-10 before the half, as well as getting it to start the 2nd half. The Titans got just one first down in their next two possessions, and the Colts scored a couple touchdowns on theirs, and the game was over. I like this "close out games early" version of the Colts.

I only followed the game on the radio, but I absolutely love the onside kick play the Colts ran, and frankly I'm surprised more teams don't do it more often, because it works a good number of times. I haven't seen or read anything on the play (I'm on vacation, so my Internet reading is at a premium), but my assumption is that they found something in what the Titans were doing, exploited it perfectly, and put an early blow on the Titans. At worst, it now makes every single team on the Colts schedule have to ensure they don't do the same thing, using valuable practice and preparation time on a play we probably won't see again from the Colts this season, but they have to be ready for now that we have seen it. I've been hard on the coaches, but this was an A+.

The Colts also scored 40+ points for the second consecutive week, which is a rarity for the franchise. They've done it three other times, twice in Indianapolis. The first was Weeks 1 and 2 in 2001, beating the Jets and Bills, and the only other one was four straight back in 2004, Weeks 10 through 13. That was right in the middle of Peyton Manning's prime in his best season, so anything that closely resembles the offensive production of 2004 is a major accomplishment.

Josh has already covered the greatness that is Andrew Luck's first four weeks, and he covered Reggie Wayne playing in his 200th game as a Colt (I guess I really am a bit slow this week), but I have something else for you on Wayne's day:

  • Wayne played quite well in his 200th career game, grabbing six catches for 119 yards and a TD. He, along with Ravens WR Steve Smith, became just the second pair of 35+ year old players to have 100 yards receiving with a touchdown on the same day. Quite a day for those two "veterans".

Want to see just how well the Colts played Sunday? Let's take a look at the numbers and find out.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 4:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 83.7% 6 64.3% 6 Y N 4-0
ANPY/A 10.439 6 3.419 3 Y N 6-0
Turnovers 1 8 3 4 Y N 9-0
Yds/Drive 41.50 6 21.75 3 Y N 7-0
ToP/Drive 3:31.8 4 1:28.3 1 Y N 8-1
Yds/Play 6.073 12 5.553 12 N N 4-0
Orange Zone Eff 73.2% 9 81.0% 21 N N 3-1
First Downs/Drive 2.58 4 1.33 5 Y N 4-0
3rd/4th Down 50.0% 10 11.1% 1 Y N 4-0
Avg Start Pos 32.3 7 23.0 9 Y N 9-0
3 and Outs 3 12 6 2 Y N 5-0
RZ Eff 81.0% 8 81.0% 13 N N 2-2
Plays/Drive 6.833 4 3.917 1 Y N 6-0
Penalty Yds / Play 1.073 19 1.447 4 N N 3-3
RB Success 39.0% 19 54.5% 20 N Y 3-5
Yds/Carry 2.56 23 5.31 20 N Y 3-4
Ranking - Week (26) 6 4 2
Ranking - Season (122) 12 10 2

Adjusted Stats for Week 4:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 84.5% 4 65.6% 3 Y N 4-0
ANPY/A 11.910 3 4.568 3 Y N 6-0
Turnovers 0.9 8 2.7 7 Y N 9-0
Yds/Drive 44.15 4 23.53 2 Y N 7-0
ToP/Drive 3:31.3 4 1:30.2 1 Y N 8-1
Yds/Play 6.681 5 5.666 9 N N 4-0
Orange Zone Eff 72.6% 9 82.0% 23 N N 3-1
First Downs/Drive 2.44 6 1.38 3 Y N 4-0
3rd/4th Down 54.5% 10 18.5% 1 Y N 4-0
Avg Start Pos 31.2 9 23.3 7 Y N 9-0
3 and Outs 3.1 12 6.3 1 Y N 5-0
RZ Eff 72.0% 18 82.2% 16 N N 2-2
Plays/Drive 6.739 4 4.041 1 Y N 6-0
Penalty Yds / Play 1.126 20 1.321 5 N N 3-3
RB Success 38.2% 21 52.3% 17 N Y 3-5
Yds/Carry 2.92 20 5.17 23 N Y 3-4
Ranking - Week (26) 3 2 2
Ranking - Season (122) 13 12 6

Some thoughts:

  • Third best Offense, Second best Defense, and #2 overall for Week 4. I'd say the Colts had themselves one hell of a day.
  • I'm going to start with the Defense, as their performance was more of a surprise to me, Charlie Whitehurst notwithstanding. They were the best team in the league this week at Time of Possession per Drive, 3rd/4th Down, Three and Outs, and Plays per Drive. Basically the Titans had trouble sustaining any kind of drive, and that is how you win football games as the Defense.
  • The Colts also had five other categories rank in the top 5, including three of the top four stats. Those numbers make me much, much more optimistic that they maybe have figured something out, and will be at least average, because that's all this team needs. They don't have to be the '85 Bears. Just be league-average.
  • They get one knock, and that's the limited times the Titans made it into scoring position they scored most of the available points, but I'm not to complain when they only make it inside the 35 three times. That's a cause for a celebration.
  • Nothing more can be said about the Offense's performance Sunday, as they were spectacular. Combined with the Defense they were above average on both sides of the ball in the five best stats that lead to wins. Hence, easy Colts victory. Sounds simple, right?
  • The Red Zone numbers only look "bad" because the Titans are so bad at stopping teams close to their end zone. Nothing to worry about here.
  • If you look at the top 11 stats in the table above and add their respective records together when teams are above average on both sides of the ball, Week 4 teams went 63-2, which essentially means the team who played better won every game. What does rushing the ball / stopping the run get you? A combined 6-9, including the Titans, who played just great, right?

Season Stats through Week 4 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 72.1% 10 Broncos 66.9% 11 Seahawks 26-2 0.929
ANPY/A 6.875 4 Broncos 3.958 3 Seahawks 32-2 0.941
Turnovers 0.89 3 Broncos 2.35 4 Bengals 36-5 0.878
Yds/Drive 32.16 7 Broncos 27.39 11 Seahawks 25-5 0.833
ToP/Drive 2:51.0 8 Chargers 2:25.0 4 Bengals 27-7 0.794
Yds/Play 5.511 8 Broncos 5.157 14 Seahawks 22-8 0.733
Orange Zone Eff 53.3% 20 Cowboys 52.0% 9 Bengals 19-4 0.826
First Downs/Drive 1.77 12 Broncos 1.61 14 Seahawks 23-3 0.885
3rd/4th Down 38.8% 16 Chargers 35.7% 11 Bengals 23-7 0.767
Avg Start Pos 31.6 7 Bengals 26.7 3 Chargers 30-3 0.909
3 and Outs 3.98 23 Chargers 4.32 11 Seahawks 20-6 0.769
RZ Eff 64.5% 17 Falcons 62.3% 10 Bengals 15-10 0.600
Plays/Drive 5.828 9 Chargers 5.325 11 Lions 15-5 0.750
Penalty Yds / Play 0.698 8 Chargers 1.072 4 Vikings 15-11 0.577
RB Success 36.9% 30 Cowboys 53.4% 31 Redskins 11-20 0.355
Yds/Carry 4.03 22 Cowboys 4.78 25 Seahawks 13-15 0.464
Overall 8 Broncos 9 Seahawks

Some thoughts:

  • Both the Offense and Defense rank in the top 10 this week, which is truly a rare sight. Hopefully it remains the same once we get more data in there.
  • The Offense is passing the ball really well, not turning the ball over, getting great field position from the Defense/Special Teams, and can't run the football to save their lives. Anyone worried about the Offense?
  • The Defense is defending the pass exceptionally, forcing turnovers, getting outstanding field position from the Offense/Special Teams, getting teams off the field quickly, and generally being awful stopping the run.
  • You'll notice field position is playing an extremely important part in games so far this season, with a record of 30-3 to teams that are above average on both sides of the ball (which is the 30). Special Teams really earning their money this year.

Week-to-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Broncos 86 100 102 92 50 76
2 Eagles 64 76 75 40 75 54
3 Jaguars 3 34 5 7 61 22
4 Titans 12 10 2 13 12 6

Continual improvement, even on a really good Week 3. Sunday was the 6th best game played so far this season. I like the continual improvement more. It shows the players are buying into what the coaches are telling them, and they want to get better. All very, very good signs for the Colts.