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2014 NFL Week Eleven: Inside the Colts Numbers

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The Colts failed to show up once again against one of the elite teams in the NFL, getting pummeled by the Patriots. Find out how bad things were Sunday night when we go Inside the Numbers.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Well that was a nice bucket of cold water to the face, huh?

There were quite a few things you could point to that showed that the Colts would be able to play with the Patriots Sunday night, but unfortunately none of them came to fruition, and what we saw, a 42-20 beatdown, is something I'm not sure how the Colts will fix. It's the third straight time these Colts looked like they didn't belong on the same field as the Patriots, and it shows the gap between where the Colts are, and where they want to be. Sadly, it feels like the Grand Canyon is between them.

The optimistic fan can point to the fact that the Colts were within one score just a minute and a half into the 4th quarter, but was the game really that close? The Defense hadn't stopped the Patriots in two drives after halftime, and they didn't stop them the next two drives either. They had to go for it from their own 32 with over 8 minutes remaining because Chuck Pagano knew the Defense couldn't stop them. Also, the Colts were gifted seven points before halftime, thanks to one of the worst passes of Tom Brady's career. Man that was awful. It was about as awful as the timeout called by Pagano right before the Colts scored with 55 seconds left. Thankfully the Patriots decided to sit on the ball, but that was the complete wrong decision to call a timeout there. It may have felt like a close game, but in reality it wasn't close at all.

With as innovative as the Special Teams have been this year, I was a bit surprised when we didn't see a fake on the 53 yard FG that was knocked through by Adam Vinatieri. It was 4th and 1, and (again) clear the Defense was struggling to stop the Patriot Offense, so touchdowns were of most importance. They had plenty of time to implement something during the Bye week, based on how the Patriots line up to defend a FG, and I really thought we'd see one there. Maybe they are saving it for a better occasion, but I'm not sure there would have been a better one all season.

I've spent a great deal of time in these recap articles talking about how passing the ball / stopping the pass are much more important than running the ball / stopping the run, and I have 13+ years of data to back up those claims. There are games though, like Sunday night, where the complete opposite is true. What Jonas Gray and the Patriots OL did to the Colts Sunday night was something else, and I'd be shocked if we didn't see more of it from other teams in the near future. The biggest change they made was adding a 6th OL on a lot of running plays, and the Colts could/did not adjust to it at any point in the game. The Colts need to be semi-competent in stopping the run, or else we're going to see a lot more of these types of games. On a day that Tom Brady was not in his best form, the Colts were completely annihilated up front, much like the last time these two teams played.

The numbers aren't pretty, but we'll dive into them. Let's see what the damage was from Sunday night.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 11:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 70.4% 13 90.7% 28 N N 6-0
ANPY/A 7.450 6 6.900 20 N N 6-1
Turnovers 1 7 2 4 Y N 6-5
Yds/Drive 32.20 17 50.10 26 N N 4-2
ToP/Drive 2:33.9 19 3:26.1 21 N Y 8-0
Yds/Play 5.649 11 6.680 24 N N 4-2
Orange Zone Eff 60.7% 6 100.0% 28 N N 1-0
First Downs/Drive 1.70 16 3.30 27 N N 5-2
3rd/4th Down 37.5% 12 75.0% 28 N Y 8-0
Avg Start Pos 26.0 16 24.3 9 N N 5-2
3 and Outs 3 14 1 20 N N 4-3
RZ Eff 81.0% 3 100.0% 28 N N 4-2
Plays/Drive 5.700 18 7.500 24 N N 4-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.509 8 0.707 12 N N 4-0
RB Success 21.4% 28 64.4% 26 N Y 4-3
Yds/Carry 1.12 28 5.42 24 N Y 5-3
Ranking - Week (28) 14 27 23
Ranking - Season (322) 145 308 270

Adjusted Stats for Week 11:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 70.5% 13 85.3% 27 N N 6-0
ANPY/A 7.461 10 5.336 9 N N 6-1
Turnovers 0.5 7 2.7 3 Y N 6-5
Yds/Drive 32.98 14 44.96 25 N N 4-2
ToP/Drive 2:36.5 18 3:18.8 19 N Y 8-0
Yds/Play 5.602 12 6.384 23 N N 4-2
Orange Zone Eff 62.3% 6 87.9% 28 N N 1-0
First Downs/Drive 1.63 18 2.92 26 N N 5-2
3rd/4th Down 40.0% 13 68.8% 27 N Y 8-0
Avg Start Pos 28.4 12 21.3 5 N N 5-2
3 and Outs 3.1 17 1.5 22 N N 4-3
RZ Eff 82.7% 2 89.2% 28 N N 4-2
Plays/Drive 5.818 17 6.885 21 N N 4-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.579 12 0.425 23 N N 4-0
RB Success 19.7% 28 62.1% 27 N Y 4-3
Yds/Carry 1.56 28 5.67 26 N Y 5-3
Ranking - Week (28) 13 26 25
Ranking - Season (322) 151 292 265

Some thoughts:

  • I said Thursday that the two biggest keys would be Turnovers and Rob Gronkowski. I'd say neither really played a huge role in the outcome. The Colts actually won the Turnover battle, with their lone interception coming on a ball that probably shouldn't have been thrown, and Gronkowski was used mainly as a blocker until the 4th quarter.
  • The Colts were the worst rushing team of the entire weekend (big shock), and ranked 2nd worst and 3rd worst on defense in RB Success Rate and Yards per Carry respectively. When you average more yards per rush than you do per pass (like the Patriots did Sunday), you either have a bad QB (they don't) or there's no reason to pass the ball. I'm actually surprised they passed it as much as they did.
  • The Colts did well scoring points when they got close to the end zone, but didn't get there often enough for it to make a difference. On the flip side, they practiced their matador skills when the Patriots got into scoring range, a perfect 6-6 in the Orange Zone, 5-5 in the Red Zone in scoring touchdowns. Ugh.
  • They also failed miserably on 3rd downs, with each subsequent conversion just knocking the Defense down another peg. Just not a good day all around.
  • The Offense had a lot of the other stats that were right around league-average, while the Defense was at the bottom of the league, other than in Turnovers and our passing stat. It's a good sign going forward if they are doing those two things well, other than when the opposing team does what the Patriots did Sunday.

Season Stats through Week 11 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 74.8% 6 Saints 68.5% 12 Broncos 69-4 0.945
ANPY/A 7.041 4 Packers 5.650 17 Dolphins 79-8 0.908
Turnovers 1.83 21 Patriots 1.78 13 Bills 82-21 0.796
Yds/Drive 34.71 2 Saints 30.17 19 Broncos 65-12 0.844
ToP/Drive 2:51.0 11 Chiefs 2:21.0 2 Broncos 75-11 0.872
Yds/Play 5.847 3 Broncos 5.518 25 Dolphins 60-23 0.723
Orange Zone Eff 56.4% 13 Chiefs 62.3% 29 Dolphins 44-13 0.772
First Downs/Drive 1.95 7 Saints 1.70 16 Broncos 60-14 0.811
3rd/4th Down 42.1% 9 Cowboys 33.1% 4 Chiefs 71-14 0.835
Avg Start Pos 31.3 10 Dolphins 24.9 1 Colts 74-10 0.881
3 and Outs 3.44 13 Saints 4.70 4 Broncos 44-18 0.710
RZ Eff 64.4% 16 Raiders 75.1% 30 Ravens 43-24 0.642
Plays/Drive 5.943 6 Saints 5.311 9 Bills 51-14 0.785
Penalty Yds / Play 0.711 8 Jaguars 0.768 21 Redskins 44-29 0.603
RB Success 42.6% 17 Seahawks 47.0% 24 Broncos 36-42 0.462
Yds/Carry 3.92 21 Seahawks 4.89 32 Lions 34-40 0.459
Overall 7 Chiefs 13 Broncos

Some thoughts:

  • I think an Offensive overall rank of 7th is pretty spot on with this unit. The teams ahead of them are all very good and deserving teams, so I agree with the ranking. They rank high in most of the drive related stats, our best indicator of success, so that's a good thing. Turnovers are getting better.
  • The Defense does several things really well, Sunday night notwithstanding. They still lead the league in Average Starting Field Position, and rank in the top 4 in Time of Possession per Drive, 3rd/4th Downs, and Three and Outs. They're just really bad at allowing points deep in their territory and stopping the run.

Week-to-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Broncos 204 277 268 110 212 149
2 Eagles 157 217 191 117 259 207
3 Jaguars 5 104 11 5 232 62
4 Titans 25 27 4 51 65 38
5 Ravens 116 22 32 116 27 35
6 Texans 56 123 60 71 172 90
7 Bengals 130 10 26 141 8 20
8 Steelers 111 313 259 132 312 268
9 Giants 146 110 118 163 135 136
10 BYE
11 Patriots 145 308 270 151 292 265

Sunday night was right on par with the other worst game of the year for the Colts against the Steelers. The Colts haven't found the form they had in winning five straight in almost a month, but having the Jaguars and Redskins on the schedule the next two weeks should help things. They have the 4th easiest schedule going forward, so things should be ok. Winning in the Playoffs, however, is now a different story. I don't have much confidence they can do that.