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2014 NFL Week Two: Inside the Colts Numbers

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A combination of untimely offensive stalls, the defense having no answer for YAC, critical coaching errors, and some untimely officiating mistakes caused the Colts to fall to 0-2 Monday night. Is there any glimmers of hope? Let the Winning Stats light the way as we go Inside the Colts Numbers.

Andy Lyons

Just before Monday night's 30-27 Colts loss to the Eagles, one of my ND buddies that is from Philly asked me how I felt about the game. I told him:

Talent is equal. Coaching is not.

I pointed out the coaching mis-match on Thursday in my preview article, and it certainly rang true Monday Night. Once again the Colts coaching staff failed to put their players in a position to win, and this time it was the whole triumvirate that was to blame. Josh said it all earlier today, so there's no need to re-hash how they blew the game. I'll look at some stats to show how Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky should also be receiving blame, even though most of the backlash has been at Pep Hamilton for the awful play-calling at the end.

Immediately following the game, I was steadfast in thinking it was asinine to throw the ball on 3rd and 9 from the Eagles 22 with 5:15 to play. Run the ball, take your field goal, go up two scores, and make the Eagles score twice. In thinking more about it, however, I can see where it may have been in the best interest to try and get the first down through the air, take some more time off the clock, or make it a two TD game. The pass play called, however, was just awful. Only one guy (Hakeem Nicks) was running a route to gain a first down. There were timing routes on both sides: plays where one thing goes wrong (throw to early/late, WR slips, etc) and it's just asking for a disaster, all made worse by the fact they still would have been four yards short. It's almost like Luck saw the contact/hold coming, threw the ball assuming the penalty would be called, and then nothing. We've seen QBs do it before in those situations. Might be worth asking him (even though I'm sure he wouldn't say he did).

I also have a unique perspective on the officials' ability to win/lose games. As some of you know, I work as an official for a sports league run out of Indianapolis, so I see everyday what it's like to be on the "other side" of the window. In the three seasons I've been doing this, I've learned a whole lot, and the most important thing is that officials never cause anyone to win/lose games. Please don't confuse this with me saying officials are never wrong; quite the contrary. Last night, it certainly appeared the officials got several calls wrong, all of which to the detriment of the Colts. The league admitting mistakes won't change the outcome, but it will (hopefully) lead us towards a more consistent product. The Colts could have done any number of things last night that would have made those officiating mistakes irrelevant. It sucks that they happened, but I will refuse to blame officials for any loss, no matter what.

One note from Elias on last night's game:

The Eagles are the first team in NFL history to win its first two games of a season despite facing a deficit of at least 14 points in the second half in each of those games.

Glad the Colts could be a part of that dubious mark.

How did the numbers look? Let's jump in and take a look.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 2:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 77.8% 10 75.0% 16 N N 4-0
ANPY/A 5.500 17 8.270 27 N Y 10-0
Turnovers 2 22 1 12 N Y 11-0
Yds/Drive 31.00 21 38.17 26 N N 5-3
ToP/Drive 3:17.7 8 1:58.8 4 Y N 7-3
Yds/Play 4.736 24 7.046 30 N Y 6-6
Orange Zone Eff 64.3% 11 61.2% 17 N N 6-1
First Downs/Drive 2.27 11 2.00 16 N N 3-1
3rd/4th Down 38.5% 20 41.7% 15 N Y 6-3
Avg Start Pos 23.9 20 26.8 19 N N 8-0
3 and Outs 5 31 2 19 N Y 4-3
RZ Eff 85.7% 7 71.4% 15 N N 4-2
Plays/Drive 6.545 12 5.417 7 Y N 3-3
Penalty Yds / Play 0.972 19 1.385 4 N N 4-2
RB Success 51.4% 10 42.3% 15 Y N 3-5
Yds/Carry 4.45 13 4.54 21 N N 2-6
Ranking - Week (32) 15 19 21
Ranking - Season (64) 30 44 41

Adjusted Stats for Week 2:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 65.6% 25 99.0% 32 N N 4-0
ANPY/A 0.898 31 11.082 31 N Y 10-0
Turnovers 3.7 31 -0.5 27 N Y 11-0
Yds/Drive 20.23 31 51.34 30 N N 5-3
ToP/Drive 1:28.5 27 3:44.4 23 Y N 7-3
Yds/Play 4.811 22 6.775 28 N Y 6-6
Orange Zone Eff 61.5% 16 88.1% 27 N N 6-1
First Downs/Drive 1.24 26 3.61 31 N N 3-1
3rd/4th Down 28.9% 23 69.2% 30 N Y 6-3
Avg Start Pos 23.3 21 34.7 29 N N 8-0
3 and Outs 4.4 26 0.0 29 N Y 4-3
RZ Eff 131.0% 5 140.2% 27 N N 4-2
Plays/Drive 4.283 27 8.368 30 Y N 3-3
Penalty Yds / Play 1.134 22 1.416 5 N N 4-2
RB Success 46.5% 14 50.0% 20 Y N 3-5
Yds/Carry 5.29 7 4.20 16 N N 2-6
Ranking - Week (32) 28 31 31
Ranking - Season (64) 54 62 62

Some thoughts:

  • The adjusted numbers won't look right with only two games worth of data in there. You can largely ignore them for now, but wanted to show how they looked regardless.
  • I think the Colts played pretty much an average game, and it shows that by ranking 15th overall this week. Wasn't great, wasn't bad. Just not enough to win.
  • They moved the ball quite well. But only after they got the initial first down on a drive. They had five Three and Outs, tied for worst in the league this week, and with the exception of the Andrew Luck interception, scored points on every other non-3 and out drive. Just one first down on that final drive would have gotten them rolling. Sigh.
  • Colts were also really good in the Red Zone, scoring nearly 86% of the total possible points. Big improvement over Week 1. Good sign. And more Ahmad Bradshaw please. My fantasy teams thank you.
  • Time of Possession per Drive didn't really matter much, did it? Colts held the ball over three minutes per drive, and the Eagles were under two minutes per. The Eagles play fast, and opponents grind out long drives against a tired defense. The Eagles are 2-0.
  • Pass Defense was really bad for the Colts, but you knew that already. Of the 331 passing yards for the Eagles, 255 of them were Yards after Catch. Nick Foles played ok, especially in second half, but it was the YAC that made the pass defense so horrendous.
  • Yards per Play for the Eagles was a big number. I bet you could have guessed that as well.
  • Overall this week teams that forced at least 2 turnovers without turning it over more than once were 11-0, and no winning starting QB had an interception other than Foles (what a play by Greg Toler, by the way). Also, teams that passed the ball above average while defending the pass of their opponent below average were 10-0. Meanwhile, those same above/below average stats for RB Success Rate and YPC were a combined 5-11. PASSING LEAGUE.

Season Stats through Week 2 (Non-Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 76.4% 9 Broncos 78.6% 27 Redskins 11-2 0.846
ANPY/A 5.456 20 Bengals 8.446 29 Patriots 18-1 0.947
Turnovers 2.00 21 Bengals 0.50 24 Patriots 21-3 0.875
Yds/Drive 32.57 16 Saints 37.23 27 Redskins 13-3 0.813
ToP/Drive 2:46.6 18 Texans 2:33.1 12 Patriots 13-4 0.765
Yds/Play 5.275 19 Falcons 6.112 26 Lions 13-7 0.650
Orange Zone Eff 48.1% 23 Broncos 70.1% 27 Redskins 9-2 0.818
First Downs/Drive 2.13 13 Saints 2.18 24 Redskins 10-3 0.769
3rd/4th Down 36.7% 22 Cowboys 46.2% 23 Eagles 14-5 0.737
Avg Start Pos 26.6 16 Texans 25.8 12 Bills 18-1 0.947
3 and Outs 4.00 29 Bills 2.50 17 Eagles 12-3 0.800
RZ Eff 60.7% 22 Falcons 77.1% 21 Redskins 7-5 0.583
Plays/Drive 6.174 14 Ravens 6.091 21 Redskins 6-4 0.600
Penalty Yds / Play 0.810 15 Dolphins 1.194 6 Vikings 6-8 0.429
RB Success 51.1% 8 Saints 44.8% 17 Cardinals 5-8 0.385
Yds/Carry 4.29 18 Seahawks 3.82 11 Lions 8-9 0.471
Overall 21 Broncos 27 Redskins

Some thoughts:

  • Again, I decided to go with the non-adjusted stats because they are just too "off".
  • Here's why I'm not that worried about the Colts Offense: They rank 9th in Drive Success Rate, which means they are moving the ball down the field just fine. The more opportunities they have the score points the better, so it'll come.
  • The Defense is able to stop the run (yippee!) but can't do anything else. That would be great if this were 1992.
  • Field Position is played a lot bigger role so far this season than in previous years. Average Starting Position over the years is almost squarely on the 30, so teams that start drives on average better than the 30, while their opponent is behind the 30, are 18-1 this year.

Week-by-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Broncos 43 55 54 50 60 59
2 Eagles 30 44 41 54 62 62

Can't draw too many conclusions from this. Their numbers were better in Week 2 than in Week 1, but was that because they played better or their opponent was inferior? We'll find out as we move forward.

I expected the Colts to be 0-2 at this juncture, so it still doesn't bother me that is their record. But they'll have to significantly reduce the amount of mistakes they make, both on the field and on the sidelines, in order to make this proclamation come true.