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2014 NFL Wild Card Round: Inside the Colts Numbers

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The Colts played one of their best games of the season Sunday, especially that guy under center who wears #12. Just how good was it? Find out when we go Inside the Numbers.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There was no need for a miraculous comeback in the Wild Card Round this year, as the Colts took care of business rather convincingly Sunday, a 26-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. With the win, the Colts will travel to Denver next Sunday afternoon to take on the Broncos in the Divisional Round.

Sunday wasn't quite the near-perfect performance the first time these two teams met, but it still was quite impressive, especially the second half. We saw some dumb penalties, a couple fumbles from Boom Herron, and some missed tackles, but I think the game pretty much went the way I thought it would. I said on Thursday that the game would be won or lost with Andrew Luck, and he was magnificent, even when his receivers (once again) let him down. We'll get to his stats shortly, but if he continues to play like he did today, the Colts will hang around against anyone.

I was a bit miffed when the Colts won the coin toss and chose to receive, and I had both philosophical and empirical reasons to think so. I always like trying to get an extra possession in the 2nd half, where your chances of improving your win probability is increased, mostly because it's closer to the end of the game. Also, playing Defense at home gets the crowd into the game immediately, especially against a depleted Bengals Offense. Add in this stat: The Colts did not have a first-possession TD at all in 2014. Yes, as good as this Offense has been at times, they never had an opening drive touchdown. Well, they proved me wrong with a 71 yard 9 play drive, capped off by a two yard TD by Herron. It worked out Sunday. Please defer if you win the toss this Sunday, Coach Pagano.

A couple of notes from Elias from Sunday:

  • Dan Herron, a 6th Round pick of the Bengals in 2012, became only the third player in NFL history to lead a postseason game in rushing yards (56) against a former team. Also, with his 10 receptions, he became the 4th RB to lead his team in receptions against a former team, joining the likes of Hershel Walker and Ricky Watters.
  • Adam Vinatieri, with his four FGs, extended his insurmountable lead in career postseason field goals to 55, now leading by 16 over the next closest kicker, David Akers. Also, no other active kicker has more than 20. He's good.

How did the stats look on Sunday? Let's dive in and take a look:

Non-Adjusted Stats for the Wild Card Round:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 72.7% 3 57.7% 2 Y N 2-0
ANPY/A 8.622 2 3.789 2 Y N 3-0
Turnovers 1 1 1 5 N N 2-0
Yds/Drive 43.82 1 21.17 2 Y N 1-0
ToP/Drive 3:06.4 3 2:09.2 2 Y N 1-0
Yds/Play 6.886 1 4.305 2 Y N 1-0
Orange Zone Eff 54.3% 5 100.0% 8 N Y 1-1
First Downs/Drive 2.00 3 1.17 2 Y N 2-0
3rd/4th Down 42.9% 2 40.0% 5 N N 2-0
Avg Start Pos 27.3 5 22.7 2 N N 1-0
3 and Outs 3 4 5 2 Y N 1-0
RZ Eff 57.1% 6 100.0% 8 N Y 2-2
Plays/Drive 6.364 4 4.917 2 Y N 1-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.943 6 0.763 6 N Y 1-2
RB Success 41.7% 4 44.4% 8 N Y 0-1
Yds/Carry 4.56 3 5.24 8 N N 1-0
Ranking - Week (8) 3 2 2
Ranking - Season (520) 129 131 78

Adjusted Stats for the Wild Card Round:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 74.4% 4 60.8% 2 Y N 2-0
ANPY/A 9.686 1 4.032 3 Y N 3-0
Turnovers 0.9 2 0.9 7 N N 2-0
Yds/Drive 43.10 1 22.41 2 Y N 1-0
ToP/Drive 3:03.3 3 2:13.9 2 Y N 1-0
Yds/Play 7.043 1 4.355 2 Y N 1-0
Orange Zone Eff 65.2% 3 103.4% 8 N Y 1-1
First Downs/Drive 1.93 5 1.30 2 Y N 2-0
3rd/4th Down 45.5% 3 41.8% 7 N N 2-0
Avg Start Pos 28.4 5 20.6 2 N N 1-0
3 and Outs 2.8 4 4.9 2 Y N 1-0
RZ Eff 66.2% 5 98.9% 8 N Y 2-2
Plays/Drive 6.063 4 5.168 3 Y N 1-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.936 7 0.807 6 N Y 1-2
RB Success 35.6% 6 46.6% 8 N Y 0-1
Yds/Carry 4.32 4 5.13 8 N N 1-0
Ranking - Week (8) 2 2 2
Ranking - Season (520) 83 155 70

Some thoughts:

  • Look what Andrew Luck did, only leading the weekend in ANPY/A at over 9.5 yards per attempt. Easily the best game of this season, and one of the best games of his career against one of the best secondaries in the NFL. Just think how big that number would have been without the 4 or 5 drops...
  • One of the reasons Luck looked a lot better Sunday was he checked down to Boom Herron at lot more than he did in the regular season, and it worked out great. Well, other than the two fumbles, which were not good. I think this week Herron should go old-school and carry a football everywhere he goes, and everyone that comes by him tries to knock it away.
  • I'm not as concerned about the four FGs the Colts kicked, as the Bengals were ranked 2nd in the NFL coming in. Getting the opening TD was a good sign, and it obviously would have been better to cash in with at least one other TD, but it gives them something to work on this week, where they'll absolutely need 7s instead of 3s.
  • The Defense in the first half wasn't great, wasn't all that bad, but they clearly made all the right adjustments for the second half, as they only allowed four First Downs, and got four Three and Outs. It's how you play, and keep, a 2nd half lead. An excellent job by the Defense.
  • The Orange/Red Zone Defense number is a bit skewed, as the Bengals only got inside the Colts 35 once, and they scored a touchdown on that trip, so technically it is a 100%. I'd rather they only get one trip in there and score a TD, then let them get in there four or five times and kick a few FGs.
  • The Colts had the worst Rush Defense of the weekend. When everyone and their mother knew the Bengals were going to run with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. And it really mattered to how the game ended up, right?

Season Stats through the Wild Card Round (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 72.3% 8 Packers 66.0% 3 Bills 114-8 0.934
ANPY/A 6.998 5 Packers 5.531 16 Bills 132-13 0.910
Turnovers 2.14 30 Packers 1.72 19 Bills 122-32 0.792
Yds/Drive 31.95 11 Packers 27.61 7 Bills 106-20 0.841
ToP/Drive 2:38.0 22 Seahawks 2:26.0 2 Broncos 110-26 0.809
Yds/Play 5.818 4 Packers 5.102 12 Seahawks 100-30 0.769
Orange Zone Eff 56.4% 13 Broncos 59.5% 26 Rams 73-24 0.753
First Downs/Drive 1.76 14 Saints 1.56 6 Bills 98-23 0.810
3rd/4th Down 41.1% 13 Cowboys 33.6% 2 Bills 115-26 0.816
Avg Start Pos 30.5 15 Dolphins 27.7 3 Patriots 122-20 0.859
3 and Outs 4.00 22 Dolphins 4.87 3 Broncos 76-31 0.710
RZ Eff 64.7% 16 Raiders 68.0% 23 Rams 78-41 0.655
Plays/Drive 5.530 20 Saints 5.273 2 Bills 81-25 0.764
Penalty Yds / Play 0.764 11 Jaguars 0.822 17 Redskins 72-43 0.626
RB Success 40.7% 24 Dolphins 46.4% 24 Lions 58-62 0.483
Yds/Carry 3.85 23 Seahawks 4.56 28 Lions 64-62 0.508
Overall 13 Packers 8 Bills

A thought:

  • Not much changed here, with only eight teams playing this week, so there's not much to talk about. The Colts overall rank moved up to 6th, with the five teams ahead of them all still alive in the Playoffs (Broncos, Seahawks, Patriots, Packers, Cowboys).

Week-to-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Broncos 315 451 430 197 336 260
2 Eagles 236 353 308 172 406 327
3 Jaguars 5 176 21 10 380 106
4 Titans 36 54 7 103 146 82
5 Ravens 185 49 52 167 40 37
6 Texans 84 204 98 88 284 132
7 Bengals 208 21 39 146 14 15
8 Steelers 177 507 415 210 502 429
9 Giants 228 185 180 258 192 200
10 BYE
11 Patriots 219 501 429 237 487 430
12 Jaguars 281 13 53 304 55 114
13 Redskins 169 209 164 130 292 175
14 Browns 437 20 184 436 71 234
15 Texans 363 86 193 353 78 167
16 Cowboys 499 480 516 508 397 510
17 Titans 275 36 84 378 88 195
18 Bengals 129 131 78 83 155 70

The Offense we saw early in the season finally showed up after a couple months off, and it was easily the best game the Colts have played since the first Bengals game. The Bengals were clearly short-handed, so it certainly played a part in the Colts playing so well, but it's a good sign that they could "turn it on" when they needed it the most, since they haven't really played well for a long while. Let's hope the same team shows up in Denver next weekend.