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2014 NFL Week Seventeen: Inside the Colts Numbers

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The Colts got through Week 17 without any major issues, which is a good thing heading into the Playoffs. See how they did statistically against the woeful Titans.

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The Colts finished up the 2014 regular season with a sleepy, mundane 27-10 win over the lowly Titans, who wrapped up the #2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, thanks to the Bucs letting the Saints come back from 20-7 down to win. The relatively easy win means a second consecutive year with a 6-0 sweep in the division, an 11-5 record for the third straight year, and the #4 seed in the Playoffs for the 2nd straight year. We'll leave it for another article whether you consider the consistency really good, or the lack of improvement is a concern, but either way it's a third straight Playoff trip for the Colts.

My biggest key to the game was surviving without any major injuries, and I think they did that. Andrew Luck and a lot of the starters only played a half, and the only injury that I can remember is A.Q. Shipley, who hasn't been starting so I can't characterize as "significant", so getting through Sunday without an injury, plus winning the game, is a very good thing. Just think of what the Steelers (Le'Veon Bell) and Bengals (A.J. Green) are going through this week.

The biggest play of the day unfortunately ended one yard short, as Reggie Wayne was caught at the one yard line after an 80 yard catch and run in the first half. According to Elias, it was the longest reception in NFL history by a player age 36 or older. The previous long was 78 yards by Terrell Owens with Cincinnati in 2010. Not bad for the "old guy". Also Sunday he passed his old buddy Andre Johnson as the leader in receiving yards against the Titans with 1573.

I'm not going to go into too much detail with my stat thoughts, as it's a mix of both starters and backups, and I don't think there's a whole lot you can take from it and use for next weekend against the Bengals. It's still semi-interesting to see where they fell for the week, but it wasn't like a regular week (obviously).

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 17:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 65.5% 22 45.5% 1 N N 7-0
ANPY/A 10.389 3 2.000 1 Y N 12-0
Turnovers 0 1 1 14 N N 6-3
Yds/Drive 29.08 22 14.77 1 N N 8-1
ToP/Drive 2:34.3 20 2:02.6 3 N N 5-2
Yds/Play 5.727 14 3.254 1 Y N 8-1
Orange Zone Eff 55.1% 13 71.4% 24 N N 5-2
First Downs/Drive 1.23 29 0.69 1 N N 6-2
3rd/4th Down 31.6% 21 26.3% 6 N N 8-2
Avg Start Pos 40.0 1 26.3 10 Y N 8-1
3 and Outs 4 21 7 1 N N 7-1
RZ Eff 77.1% 10 71.4% 17 N N 6-3
Plays/Drive 5.077 26 4.538 2 N N 3-1
Penalty Yds / Play 0.303 4 0.339 26 N N 6-1
RB Success 31.0% 28 40.0% 11 N N 2-3
Yds/Carry 2.13 31 5.92 28 N Y 4-7
Ranking - Week (32) 15 1 4
Ranking - Season (512) 271 36 82

Adjusted Stats for Week 17:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 62.5% 25 52.8% 1 N N 7-0
ANPY/A 9.991 4 2.728 2 Y N 12-0
Turnovers 0.6 8 0.8 21 N N 6-3
Yds/Drive 27.31 22 19.47 1 N N 8-1
ToP/Drive 2:21.9 23 2:17.6 7 N N 5-2
Yds/Play 5.732 11 3.364 1 Y N 8-1
Orange Zone Eff 46.4% 19 75.1% 27 N N 5-2
First Downs/Drive 1.03 30 1.08 2 N N 6-2
3rd/4th Down 30.4% 23 35.5% 12 N N 8-2
Avg Start Pos 38.2 1 27.9 16 Y N 8-1
3 and Outs 4.4 26 6.0 1 N N 7-1
RZ Eff 63.4% 16 83.6% 24 N N 6-3
Plays/Drive 4.757 29 5.268 11 N N 3-1
Penalty Yds / Play 0.448 11 0.177 31 N N 6-1
RB Success 30.2% 29 42.3% 12 N N 2-3
Yds/Carry 1.96 31 6.13 30 N Y 4-7
Ranking - Week (32) 22 8 12
Ranking - Season (512) 372 86 195

Some thoughts:

  • For just the third game in 2014, the Colts did not commit a turnover. Time to celebrate!
  • This week is a good example of why we look at opponent-adjusted stats and not just the actual stats. Without the adjustment, the Colts played the best Defensive game in the entire NFL. However, when you adjust for just how bad the Titans are, it falls all the way to 8th.
  • The Colts didn't allow the Titans to move the ball at all Sunday, getting seven Three-and-Outs, and a Drive Success Rate of 45.5%, the 6th lowest of any game this season in actual DSR. The Bengals 36.4% against the Colts from earlier this year was the 2nd worst.
  • Because the Colts had to lead for the entire game, giving up a bunch of rushing yards isn't the end of the world, especially when 52 of their 142 came on one play. You can see the Success Rate is a much better 42%, or 12th this week, so they gave up some big runs, but overall did a decent enough job stopping the run. It's not all that meaningful, however, with a lead in the 2nd half though.
  • The Offense struggled stringing some first downs together, but that's probably because they ran the ball a lot in the 2nd half. They couldn't run the ball, which is nothing new, but Zurlon Tipton did have 9 carries, just one shy of Dan Herron.
  • Thankfully the Colts were able to throw the ball quite effectively, ranking 4th this week at nearly 10 adjusted yards per attempt. This was one of the areas the Titans weren't completely awful in, and the Colts did really well. Good sign.

Season Stats through Week 17 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 72.3% 9 Packers 66.4% 5 Bills 112-8 0.933
ANPY/A 6.864 5 Packers 5.649 17 Bills 129-13 0.908
Turnovers 2.22 30 Packers 1.76 19 Bills 120-32 0.789
Yds/Drive 31.41 12 Packers 28.03 7 Bills 105-20 0.840
ToP/Drive 2:36.0 23 Seahawks 2:27.0 2 Broncos 109-26 0.807
Yds/Play 5.754 6 Packers 5.154 14 Seahawks 99-30 0.767
Orange Zone Eff 56.1% 14 Broncos 56.8% 21 Rams 72-23 0.758
First Downs/Drive 1.76 13 Saints 1.59 8 Bills 96-23 0.807
3rd/4th Down 40.8% 13 Cowboys 33.2% 2 Bills 113-26 0.813
Avg Start Pos 30.4 15 Dolphins 28.1 6 Patriots 121-20 0.858
3 and Outs 4.03 23 Dolphins 4.83 3 Broncos 75-31 0.708
RZ Eff 64.7% 16 Raiders 66.0% 18 Rams 76-39 0.661
Plays/Drive 5.514 21 Saints 5.294 3 Bills 80-25 0.762
Penalty Yds / Play 0.753 11 Jaguars 0.828 15 Redskins 71-41 0.634
RB Success 41.0% 24 Dolphins 46.3% 23 Lions 58-61 0.487
Yds/Carry 3.81 23 Seahawks 4.51 26 Lions 63-62 0.504
Overall 13 Packers 8 Bills

Some thoughts:

  • Overall the Colts finished as the 8th best team in the NFL, which actually is an improvement over the last two seasons, despite the December swoon, so that's a good sign. I like improvement.
  • As far as stats go, both Drive Success Rate and Adjusted Net Passing Yards per Attempt won at over 90% this year, above their historical average. In third was Average Starting Position, way over its normal average. It's also very important in the Playoffs, so watch for that over the next month as well.
  • The Colts Defense was really good at getting drives to end early, but when they didn't, opponents scored a lot of points.

Week-to-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Broncos 310 443 423 194 328 250
2 Eagles 233 348 304 168 398 316
3 Jaguars 5 173 21 10 374 105
4 Titans 36 53 7 101 145 82
5 Ravens 182 47 52 173 40 41
6 Texans 84 201 96 88 281 131
7 Bengals 205 20 39 134 13 15
8 Steelers 174 499 409 210 493 422
9 Giants 225 182 176 252 188 197
10 BYE
11 Patriots 217 494 424 235 481 423
12 Jaguars 277 12 54 300 56 114
13 Redskins 166 206 160 126 287 169
14 Browns 430 19 180 430 70 233
15 Texans 358 85 189 348 78 162
16 Cowboys 492 472 508 501 391 502
17 Titans 271 36 82 372 86 195

The Defense played well against a bad QB again, a good trend we saw this year, but the Offense played its fourth consecutive "below average" game. Again, with a bunch of backups playing in the 2nd half I'm not surprised, but the Colts only had 17 at half, so it isn't like the starters lit the place on fire. I'm not that optimistic going into Sunday afternoon, but if Luck and the Colts are truly better when "their backs are against the wall", maybe we'll see a different team than we've seen in December.