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2014 NFL Week Thirteen: Inside the Colts Numbers

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Can you be upset about a 20+ point win? Sunday's 49-27 Colts win over the Redskins was fairly easy, but could have been even easier if they did some simple stuff better. Find out what the Colts did poorly that kept them from a huge blowout.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

One of the reasons I like looking at a whole myriad of stats is because it paints a more complete picture than a single stat, and that includes the scoreboard. If you didn't watch Sunday's 49-27 Colts blowout of the Redskins, you'd look at the scoreboard, say "Yep, just like I thought", and move on without investigating any further. Doing this for this game, however, would have you miss out on just how bad the Colts played at times, and you'd know that the Colts easily could have won by 40+ if they played well consistently through the 60 minutes.

This isn't going to be a bitching article talking about only the negatives. On the contrary, the Colts did some things excellently Sunday (like they were supposed to, which is a good sign), and I'll absolutely point those out. Also, there's nothing wrong with a comfortable 20+ point win that was really never in jeopardy. It was just one of those performances, like the one last week against the Jaguars, that will likely cause the Colts to be ousted from the Playoffs when they have to play a non-dysfunctional team. I'll give you a couple examples:

  • I said Thursday that the Redskins were the 2nd worst team forcing Turnovers in the entire league. So what happens? Two turnovers in their first five plays. Of course, because it's the Redskins, they are only down 3-0 after those, and the Colts score TDs on three of their next four drives to go up 21-3. In 2012 and 2013, the Colts liked to challenge themselves by seeing just how far behind they could get before roaring back and winning. This year it's how many Turnovers they can commit and still win. Sunday was 3.
  • The touchdown play for the Redskins on the first drive of the second half was just abysmal. They let the statue Colt McCoy (he was sacked six times) break not one, not two, but three tackles in the open field before finding Logan Paulsen for the score. Just imagine that against an actual mobile QB.
  • Trent Richardson is a drive killer. Runs of 1, 1, -1, 2, 2, 2, 3, and 2 yards, and an 0-8 success rate just don't get it done. If the coaching staff (or front office) wants to play by CFL rules and only get three downs, then Richardson should continue to get the ball, because that's what they're essentially doing when he gets the ball.

I don't blame the Colts for sleep walking through part of that game. We saw how the Offense could just score at will against a porous secondary, so maybe they just didn't have the same edge they normally do, but it's a bit concerning (especially the Turnovers) that they're happening when they absolutely shouldn't be.

Elias had a fun stat today on the last two bombs thrown by Andrew Luck to Coby Fleener and Donte Moncrief:

Andrew Luck threw five touchdown passes in the Colts' 49-27 win over the Redskins, and he saved the best for last. Luck's last two TD passes covered 73 yards to Coby Fleener and 79 yards to Donte Moncrief. Only three other players in NFL history threw five or more TD passes in one game, including two of 70 yards or longer: Charley Johnson of the Cardinals in 1962 (vs. Cowboys), Joe Namath of the Jets in 1972 (vs. Colts), and Joe Ferguson of the Bills in 1979 (vs. Jets).

More in the stats on the passing day, but it was pretty awesome, even with the interception. I think it's interesting this hasn't happened since the late '70s, especially with the emphasis on passing nowadays.

Most of Sunday was very good, so let's jump into the numbers and find out just where the Colts shined.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 13:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 80.6% 7 71.1% 18 N N 7-2
ANPY/A 14.857 1 7.566 20 N N 7-1
Turnovers 3 23 1 15 N Y 9-3
Yds/Drive 40.58 7 30.36 16 N N 5-2
ToP/Drive 1:59.6 30 2:34.6 15 N N 6-3
Yds/Play 9.939 1 5.743 19 N N 5-0
Orange Zone Eff 100.0% 1 47.6% 10 Y N 4-2
First Downs/Drive 1.58 23 1.71 16 N Y 6-4
3rd/4th Down 62.5% 3 29.4% 9 Y N 6-3
Avg Start Pos 22.8 26 32.9 25 N Y 6-3
3 and Outs 3 10 6 5 Y N 2-3
RZ Eff 100.0% 1 57.1% 14 Y N 7-5
Plays/Drive 4.083 30 5.286 14 N N 6-3
Penalty Yds / Play 1.918 32 1.054 11 N N 3-3
RB Success 38.9% 21 60.0% 31 N Y 3-6
Yds/Carry 6.00 2 4.00 17 Y N 6-2
Ranking - Week (32) 12 16 8
Ranking - Season (384) 127 150 120

Adjusted Stats for Week 13:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 80.7% 4 72.9% 18 N N 7-2
ANPY/A 12.695 2 7.552 22 N N 7-1
Turnovers 3.4 30 0.7 24 N Y 9-3
Yds/Drive 39.87 5 29.88 16 N N 5-2
ToP/Drive 2:00.4 31 2:36.7 13 N N 6-3
Yds/Play 9.521 1 5.334 15 N N 5-0
Orange Zone Eff 92.8% 2 52.2% 13 Y N 4-2
First Downs/Drive 1.70 19 1.79 17 N Y 6-4
3rd/4th Down 59.6% 4 38.5% 15 Y N 6-3
Avg Start Pos 20.2 29 36.6 28 N Y 6-3
3 and Outs 3.5 16 5.4 5 Y N 2-3
RZ Eff 97.8% 2 60.1% 13 Y N 7-5
Plays/Drive 4.354 29 5.553 16 N N 6-3
Penalty Yds / Play 1.497 30 0.863 16 N N 3-3
RB Success 41.6% 17 55.4% 31 N Y 3-6
Yds/Carry 6.23 2 3.97 15 Y N 6-2
Ranking - Week (32) 8 13 8
Ranking - Season (384) 95 190 108

Some thoughts:

  • Every time the Colts put the ball in the air they gained over 12.5 yards, which was completely expected against one of the worst pass Defenses in the NFL, and one playing without both starting CBs. It was almost like the Colts just baited them into the right situation before just unloading deep. It's pretty cool to be able to score at will like that.
  • The Time of Possession per Drive was bad (31st), but you know why that was, right? Because of bullet point #1. When you're scoring long TDs, you aren't going to have the ball for very long. The coaching staff likes to use Time of Possession as a key stat. Sunday shows you it can be very meaningless in some situations.
  • The Colts scored six Offensive Touchdowns, but only got inside the Redskins 35 twice, and only got into the Red Zone once. I'm not knocking those numbers at all. Just interesting that they scored so often on big plays. They were perfect on both trips in the Orange Zone and their lone trip in the Red Zone, which is good. Sorry Adam Vinatieri, but it's good when you aren't kicking field goals.
  • The Colts Yards per Carry looks great (over six!), but they only ran it 21 times and Boom Herron had 49 on one play, so it's a bit skewed. We talked about Richardson's day already. Running the ball late is important, as is holding onto the football Boom.
  • The Redskins got a bunch of penalty yards out of the Colts, like they've done to everyone else this year, even though as a whole the Colts don't commit all that many penalties. Wish I could explain that one.
  • The Defense was pretty average, but did do well in forcing six Three and Outs on the day. That was good to see.
  • I think some of the numbers are a bit worse because they were put back on the field so quickly after long touchdowns, not really giving them ample time to rest up. They'll have to just suck it up going forward if it keeps happening, because there's nothing wrong with scoring too fast.
  • I'm most disappointed in the passing number, because McCoy isn't an NFL Quarterback, yet he was made to look like one on Sunday. The Colts won't see many QBs like that in the Playoffs.

Season Stats through Week 13 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 74.8% 5 Packers 67.3% 8 Bills 83-6 0.933
ANPY/A 7.239 3 Packers 5.652 17 Dolphins 94-11 0.895
Turnovers 2.15 27 Packers 1.70 16 Bills 92-25 0.786
Yds/Drive 34.58 5 Saints 29.12 13 Broncos 77-14 0.846
ToP/Drive 2:46.0 12 Seahawks 2:22.0 2 Broncos 85-15 0.850
Yds/Play 6.105 1 Colts 5.385 23 Broncos 72-23 0.758
Orange Zone Eff 57.2% 11 Broncos 57.7% 21 Rams 53-16 0.768
First Downs/Drive 1.92 8 Saints 1.62 12 Bills 70-18 0.795
3rd/4th Down 43.8% 6 Chargers 32.0% 2 Bills 85-18 0.825
Avg Start Pos 30.4 12 Dolphins 26.7 1 Colts 86-14 0.860
3 and Outs 3.48 12 Packers 4.76 4 Broncos 51-23 0.689
RZ Eff 65.3% 12 Raiders 71.0% 27 Rams 54-30 0.643
Plays/Drive 5.782 15 Saints 5.263 5 Bills 61-18 0.772
Penalty Yds / Play 0.767 11 Jaguars 0.815 17 Redskins 50-35 0.588
RB Success 43.5% 15 Dolphins 47.2% 24 Lions 43-50 0.462
Yds/Carry 4.24 11 Seahawks 4.67 29 Lions 47-44 0.516
Overall 7 Saints 9 Bills

Some thoughts:

  • After their bombs-away approach Sunday, the Colts now lead the NFL in Yards per Play at just over 6.1. They're also the 3rd best passing team (behind the Packers and Broncos), which is excellent to see, and could easily be higher without the dumb interceptions.
  • Despite a terrible Field Position game, the Colts still lead the NFL in Average Starting Position Defensively, and rank 2nd in Time of Possession per Drive and 3rd/4th Downs.
  • Both units rank in the top 10, and rank 5th overall. You really can't be all that upset about that.

Week-to-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Broncos 240 328 320 138 223 161
2 Eagles 180 255 228 115 304 230
3 Jaguars 5 126 14 4 285 77
4 Titans 29 35 4 77 90 52
5 Ravens 140 31 35 155 23 42
6 Texans 69 146 73 89 196 107
7 Bengals 155 13 29 131 9 17
8 Steelers 135 374 308 158 374 319
9 Giants 174 132 136 204 152 165
10 BYE
11 Patriots 170 369 322 197 346 317
12 Jaguars 215 10 42 201 46 79
13 Redskins 127 150 120 95 190 108

By the numbers, Sunday's performance was almost identical to the Texans game back in Week 6. The Colts had stretches where they looked unstoppable, but did enough dumb things that it kept the Texans in the game. This is what I mean when I say doing these things against good teams will come back to bite the Colts eventually. It almost did against Houston (who'd I'd consider a slightly above-average team).