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2014 NFL Week Sixteen: Inside the Colts Numbers

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Worst Offensive performance since we started tracking the Winning Stats? That's what we saw Sunday afternoon in Dallas by the Colts. It was really, really bad.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

For those of you old enough to remember the mid-90s (sadly, I'm guessing many of you reading this don't), VH-1 had a series Behind the Music, where it would chronicle a band or group from their beginning, through their big hits, and where they were now. Without fail, about 40-45 minutes into the show, we always found out where they hit "rock bottom".

On Sunday in Dallas, the 2014 Colts hit rock bottom. It's been a steady fall of late, but they hit the bottom with a large thud, losing 42-7 in a game that would have been better if they'd just stayed in Indy and not seen the glitz and glamor of Jerry's World.

Nobody over on West 56th Street will ever admit it, but it was clear from the beginning that the Colts wanted to try some different things, giving some guys a week off if they had nagging injuries (and they showed), but I don't think they went into Sunday giving 100% effort at winning the game. And that's ok, they didn't need it. Yes, with a win they'd still be alive for a First Round Bye, but it's a long shot the Broncos will lose at home to the Raiders. They wanted to see how different things looked against a Playoff-caliber team, and everything they tried failed miserably. Well, at least all of the outcomes were terrible.

The fake punt call early in the game was a really nice call, again being used to force future opponents to always have a guy on the gunner, for fear they'd do the exact same thing (and hopefully a perfectly thrown ball 35 yards away will be caught next time). It's the kind of thing I'd expect to see in a preseason game when you're working on stuff that you probably wouldn't use in a high-leverage situation, but it puts it on film and causes the opponent to prepare for it, thus taking away valuable practice time that could be spent on other things. I really like Special Teams Coordinator Tom McMahon, and I like that Chuck Pagano is willing to take some chances with these guys.

The point at which it became clear they didn't care about winning, and should have yanked Andrew Luck, is with three minutes to go in the first half, down 28-0 on four consecutive TD drives by Dallas, they punted on 4th and 3 from their own 38. Yes, the Colts had 1 first down at that point, but if they would have converted, continued the drive, and scored 7 (I know, far-fetched, but roll with me), they could have run the half down, been down 21, and gotten the ball to start the 3rd quarter, where a TD means you're right back in it. Yes, it's still a huge hill to climb on a day they didn't seem to care that much about winning, but they easily could have made it interesting. They instead punted, and they should have pulled Luck right after that series.

Back after the Bengals game in Week 7 I talked about how that was the best Defensive game the Colts have played, based on the Winning Stats, since 2001. Well, the Offense decided to jump into that pool Sunday, as it was the worst game on Offense the Colts have had since 2001. Here's the list of really crappy games, topped off by Sunday's debacle. Note all the games from 2011, the snow game in Buffalo in 2009, and a couple games from last season:

Opponent Year Week Score Pct. Score
Cowboys 2014 16 7-42 13.5%
Jaguars 2011 10 3-17 14.1%
Jets 2002 WC 0-41 16.1%
Falcons 2011 9 7-31 18.0%
Panthers 2011 12 19-27 23.7%
Rams 2013 10 8-38 24.1%
Bills 2009 17 7-30 25.0%
Browns 2011 2 19-27 27.2%
Patriots 2013 DIV 22-43 29.1%
Saints 2011 7 7-62 29.5%

I don't really have an explanation, just that everything was really bad. You can see just how bad below.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 16:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 64.3% 26 88.6% 31 N Y 6-0
ANPY/A 3.435 27 15.909 32 N Y 6-2
Turnovers 3 25 1 15 N Y 5-3
Yds/Drive 20.82 28 37.70 21 N Y 5-2
ToP/Drive 2:13.7 24 3:32.9 27 N Y 5-2
Yds/Play 4.089 26 6.081 25 N Y 7-1
Orange Zone Eff 33.3% 29 71.4% 24 N Y 5-3
First Downs/Drive 1.55 24 2.50 26 N Y 6-0
3rd/4th Down 35.7% 21 50.0% 25 N Y 7-3
Avg Start Pos 22.2 31 42.2 31 N Y 6-2
3 and Outs 6 26 3 16 N Y 6-1
RZ Eff 50.0% 21 75.0% 21 N Y 7-2
Plays/Drive 5.091 23 6.200 21 N Y 6-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.982 21 1.081 9 N N 6-2
RB Success 0.0% 32 40.5% 19 N N 4-3
Yds/Carry 0.10 32 3.18 10 N N 4-4
Ranking - Week (32) 30 30 32
Ranking - Season (480) 461 441 476

Adjusted Stats for Week 16:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 63.1% 26 82.9% 30 N Y 6-0
ANPY/A 3.100 27 13.961 32 N Y 6-2
Turnovers 2.8 28 0.9 23 N Y 5-3
Yds/Drive 18.52 30 33.50 15 N Y 5-2
ToP/Drive 2:15.0 24 3:08.9 22 N Y 5-2
Yds/Play 3.731 30 5.632 21 N Y 7-1
Orange Zone Eff 28.1% 30 62.2% 17 N Y 5-3
First Downs/Drive 1.48 24 2.26 24 N Y 6-0
3rd/4th Down 30.8% 26 41.3% 19 N Y 7-3
Avg Start Pos 23.6 26 41.4 31 N Y 6-2
3 and Outs 6.2 28 4.0 11 N Y 6-1
RZ Eff 45.5% 24 64.5% 16 N Y 7-2
Plays/Drive 5.091 22 5.872 15 N Y 6-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.985 23 1.181 7 N N 6-2
RB Success 3.0% 32 33.9% 10 N N 4-3
Yds/Carry 0.09 32 2.74 7 N N 4-4
Ranking - Week (32) 30 24 31
Ranking - Season (480) 469 354 469

Some thoughts:

  • The Offense played the 12th worst game of the season Sunday, and actually two of those came Sunday as well (Texans and Buccaneers were worse. And Houston won!).
  • Yes the Colts committed Turnovers again, but they didn't start until it was already 28-0, so they weren't the reason the Colts lost. Just mark them down for at least two per game. They don't seem to care.
  • I'd also like to point out the RB Success Rate for the Colts running game: a Blutarsky. An 0-for-10 showing where they only got one net yard. Now you all know by now I'm the least-likely advocate for a running game, but you have to get more than one yard on 14 carries, and you have to have at least a couple successful runs.
  • The Colts Defense did a wonderful job stopping the league-leading Dallas rushing attack though! Just over 3 yards per carry! Huzzah! <whispers in my ear> What's that? They got nearly 16 yards, on average, every time they dropped back to pass? That's why they destroyed the Colts? Well, I'll be.
  • The Cowboys were above the league average on both Offense and Defense in our top 13 stats, something I don't remember ever seeing. It was an obliteration.

Season Stats through Week 16:

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 72.9% 8 Packers 67.3% 6 Bills 105-8 0.929
ANPY/A 6.679 6 Packers 5.831 20 Browns 117-13 0.900
Turnovers 2.30 30 Packers 1.80 16 Bills 114-29 0.797
Yds/Drive 31.75 12 Packers 28.66 10 Bills 97-19 0.836
ToP/Drive 2:37.0 22 Seahawks 2:28.0 3 Bills 104-24 0.813
Yds/Play 5.767 5 Broncos 5.277 21 Seahawks 91-29 0.758
Orange Zone Eff 57.0% 12 Patriots 55.6% 18 Rams 67-21 0.761
First Downs/Drive 1.81 11 Saints 1.62 11 Bills 90-21 0.811
3rd/4th Down 41.3% 12 Cowboys 32.9% 2 Bills 105-24 0.814
Avg Start Pos 29.7 20 Dolphins 27.8 5 Patriots 113-19 0.856
3 and Outs 3.96 22 Dolphins 4.70 3 Broncos 68-30 0.694
RZ Eff 64.7% 15 Raiders 64.5% 14 Rams 70-36 0.660
Plays/Drive 5.566 20 Saints 5.303 3 Bills 77-24 0.762
Penalty Yds / Play 0.773 12 Jaguars 0.865 13 Redskins 65-40 0.619
RB Success 41.8% 22 Dolphins 46.6% 23 Lions 56-58 0.491
Yds/Carry 3.96 20 Seahawks 4.44 24 Lions 59-55 0.518
Overall 13 Packers 11 Bills

Some thoughts:

  • After beating the Bengals in Week 7, the Colts ranked 2nd Offensively and 5th Defensively. Now they rank 13th and 11th respectively. Schedules were roughly equivalent for those stretches. The Colts just got a lot worse.
  • In raw numbers, the Colts lead the league on 3rd/4th Down at 33.0%, ahead of the Bills at 33.8%. However, the Colts have played a slightly easier schedule of teams on 3rd/4th Down, so they sit just one percent behind them in our Adjusted stats. Have I mentioned the Bills Defense is excellent?

Week-to-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Broncos 293 412 399 189 314 242
2 Eagles 223 321 284 158 379 294
3 Jaguars 5 160 20 6 352 97
4 Titans 36 50 7 100 125 74
5 Ravens 175 44 50 166 38 43
6 Texans 81 190 91 84 263 127
7 Bengals 195 21 38 146 11 15
8 Steelers 166 468 384 214 460 395
9 Giants 215 171 167 234 185 182
10 BYE
11 Patriots 208 462 400 205 445 386
12 Jaguars 262 12 51 271 54 109
13 Redskins 157 193 151 124 252 156
14 Browns 406 19 172 403 68 217
15 Texans 337 78 178 321 75 152
16 Cowboys 461 441 476 469 354 469

Unless they've purposefully been holding back certain plays on Offense, three games makes a trend, and not a good one. The Colts plateaued in that game against Cincinnati on both sides of the ball. Never say never in the NFL, but I have a hard time believing this team is going very far in the Playoffs.

Whew, made it through without dropping my laptop. Glad dropping things isn't contagious.