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2014 NFL Week Five: Inside the Colts Numbers

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A really good win for the Colts Sunday sets them up nicely at 3-2, and back atop the AFC South. Find out how the Winning Stats correctly predicted the key to the game as we go Inside the Numbers.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last decade and a half we've grown accustomed to the Colts Offense winning games for them time after time. But on that rare occasion where the Offense has an "off" day, it's nice to see the Colts don't have to automatically chalk it up as a loss. Sunday's 20-13 win over the Ravens was just that kind of day, with the Defense and Special Teams playing a huge role in the win.

I know we're all upset the Colts lost that Monday night game to the Eagles, but I really think it made the coaching staff re-think what they were doing on Offense, and we've seen it pay off the last three weeks. The two drives in the 4th quarter were magnificent, save the Ahmad Bradshaw fumble at the end of the second one. They mixed the run and pass, even on the 2nd one where they were clearly trying to kill clock, and I think were settling for the field goal when the fumble occurred. I thought that would have been the right thing to do against the Eagles, so I can't criticize them for trying to just run it three times and take the 3, putting them up 2 possessions with under 2 minutes to go. What we can learn here is nothing is zero-risk, so call the plays that give you the best chance of winning, no matter the situation. But from what I saw in those final two drives Sunday, they understand the strengths of their team, and they are finally using them correctly.

The Colts can thank their lucky stars they survived while turning the ball over four times. The Colts have had 4+ turnovers in a game 20 times since the start of the 1998 season, and have now just won 3 of them. The others? A 2000 game against the Lions where they turned it over five times in a 30-18 win, and in January against the Chiefs. You remember, that epic comeback. Since the start of the 2012 season, teams are just 15-97 when they turn the ball over four or more times. However, according to Elias, it's the third straight season the Ravens have lost a game after causing four turnovers, so they are prone to blowing games like this. Thankfully, at least 3 of the 4 are easily correctable (punt return, Bradshaw, Luck's INT in red zone), so let's hope they don't have to survive turning the ball over so often. It's clearly not a recipe for winning.

Just how good did the Colts look on Sunday statistically? Let's jump into the numbers and find out how the Winning Stats were absolutely correct on what would decide the game.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 5:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 77.8% 7 61.5% 6 Y N 10-0
ANPY/A 4.700 24 3.619 4 N N 8-2
Turnovers 4 29 3 3 N N 5-4
Yds/Drive 42.20 4 26.09 7 Y N 7-0
ToP/Drive 3:52.3 2 1:56.1 4 Y N 8-0
Yds/Play 5.275 19 5.035 9 Y N 5-4
Orange Zone Eff 35.7% 28 46.4% 6 N N 3-2
First Downs/Drive 2.60 4 1.36 9 Y N 8-0
3rd/4th Down 43.8% 10 14.3% 4 Y N 10-1
Avg Start Pos 33.4 3 18.6 2 Y N 6-0
3 and Outs 1 3 3 14 N N 5-0
RZ Eff 48.6% 24 47.6% 3 N N 3-3
Plays/Drive 8.000 2 5.182 11 Y N 7-0
Penalty Yds / Play 1.038 18 0.632 20 N Y 5-4
RB Success 40.7% 17 40.0% 13 N N 5-2
Yds/Carry 3.90 20 6.00 29 N Y 2-3
Ranking - Week (30) 11 4 5
Ranking - Season (152) 61 9 18

Adjusted Stats for Week 5:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 78.6% 4 62.1% 5 Y N 10-0
ANPY/A 5.245 24 3.642 3 N N 8-2
Turnovers 3.3 27 3.1 6 N N 5-4
Yds/Drive 39.39 8 24.55 6 Y N 7-0
ToP/Drive 3:33.9 3 1:54.9 4 Y N 8-0
Yds/Play 5.133 23 5.194 9 Y N 5-4
Orange Zone Eff 45.0% 26 52.4% 9 N N 3-2
First Downs/Drive 2.50 4 1.18 6 Y N 8-0
3rd/4th Down 36.4% 16 14.9% 6 Y N 10-1
Avg Start Pos 33.8 1 19.5 2 Y N 6-0
3 and Outs 1.5 5 3.3 17 N N 5-0
RZ Eff 60.5% 22 61.7% 8 N N 3-3
Plays/Drive 7.650 2 4.842 8 Y N 7-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.720 12 0.772 18 N Y 5-4
RB Success 40.6% 17 42.6% 16 N N 5-2
Yds/Carry 3.99 18 6.07 30 N Y 2-3
Ranking - Week (30) 15 4 4
Ranking - Season (152) 69 11 19

Some thoughts:

  • Here's what I wrote on Thursday:
    Third and fourth downs will be crucial, as both teams are well above average. I think the winner of the game will be who wins 3rd and 4th down when the Ravens have the ball.
    Well, the Ravens were 2/14 on 3rd and 4th Downs Sunday, and a huge reason why the Colts won. Numbers aren't the end-all/be-all, but if used correctly they can be used to show a game will go.
  • Look at those Average Starting Position numbers.The Colts had the best average starting position of any team this week, and held the Ravens to the 2nd worst starting position, starting drives, on average, inside the 20. Once again teams who were above average on both sides were 6-0, continuing the importance field position has played in 2014. Also said this would be key, and it was.
  • Seeing a whole slew of single-digit rankings on the Defensive side makes me quite happy, with one of the best being 3rd in Adjusted Net Passing Yards per Attempt. You shut down the pass, you win the game. Between the pressure on Joe Flacco and the outstanding play by the entire secondary, especially Sergio Brown, this has me giddy more than anything else the Colts did Sunday.
  • The Colts were horrendous stopping the run. Nobody seemed to notice or care, as they shouldn't.
  • The Colts Offense moved the ball with relative ease all day, as you see the Drive Success Rate sitting at 4th in the NFL this week, and it came without the big plays, ranking just 23rd. Even though the turnovers were killers, I don't think there's too much to worry about. Things will happen, as long as they keep moving the ball down the field.
  • The Ravens are one of the best teams in the Orange/Red Zone defensively, and it showed Sunday. The Colts settled for two field goals, including one after a 20 play drive, went for it on 4th down early and failed (I'll never get mad for that in the first half. Like the aggression), and committed two turnovers inside the 20. It's obvious the Colts still need some work finishing off drives.
  • The Colts running the ball was pretty average. That's all you get from me on it.

Season Stats through Week 5 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 73.2% 7 Broncos 64.8% 5 Seahawks 36-2 0.947
ANPY/A 6.319 8 Broncos 3.822 3 Seahawks 40-4 0.909
Turnovers 1.54 16 49ers 2.44 3 Bears 41-9 0.820
Yds/Drive 33.26 5 Chargers 25.66 6 Seahawks 32-5 0.865
ToP/Drive 3:05.0 3 Chargers 2:09.0 1 Colts 35-7 0.833
Yds/Play 5.364 14 Broncos 5.132 15 Seahawks 27-12 0.692
Orange Zone Eff 52.1% 18 Broncos 49.0% 7 Bengals 22-6 0.786
First Downs/Drive 1.89 7 Saints 1.46 5 Seahawks 31-3 0.912
3rd/4th Down 41.3% 10 Chargers 27.4% 2 Seahawks 33-8 0.805
Avg Start Pos 33.0 6 Chargers 26.1 4 Chargers 36-3 0.923
3 and Outs 3.58 12 49ers 4.49 9 Seahawks 25-6 0.806
RZ Eff 62.5% 18 Broncos 55.2% 7 Patriots 18-13 0.581
Plays/Drive 6.167 4 Chargers 5.051 3 Lions 22-5 0.815
Penalty Yds / Play 0.743 12 Dolphins 1.096 3 Ravens 20-15 0.571
RB Success 38.1% 26 Cowboys 54.0% 32 Seahawks 16-22 0.421
Yds/Carry 3.89 22 Seahawks 5.00 30 Seahawks 15-18 0.455
Overall 6 Chargers 5 Seahawks

Some thoughts:

  • The Colts were the best team in the NFL last year at not turning the ball over, but sit middle-of-the-pack in 2014. Must clean it up.
  • You can see here how the Colts can move the ball, but keep coming up short at finishing off drives. The hard part is good, though.
  • The Colts Defense leads the NFL in Time of Possession per Drive. I'm pretty sure we've said that never before. They also are 2nd in the league at 3rd/4th down, and rank in the top 5 in seven other stats. The Defense is playing really, really well.
  • The rushing stats are awful. Has it mattered?

Week-to-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Broncos 105 128 125 94 66 77
2 Eagles 80 98 92 72 107 92
3 Jaguars 3 43 7 7 83 26
4 Titans 12 14 3 23 17 9
5 Ravens 61 9 18 69 11 19

That's three straight really good games from the Colts, and they've each been slightly different in how they happened. One week the Offense is awesome and the Defense rides along. Then they both play well, then the Offense has some "yips" and the Defense and Special Teams pick them up. The last three weeks have been very encouraging, and the season has pretty much gone to plan so far, at least as far as I saw it.