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2015 NFL Week 8: Inside the Colts Numbers - Déjà vu

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The Colts keep grinding and chopping wood, but that darn tree just won't fall down. In the meantime, we saw another carbon copy of the struggling Colts Monday night in a 29-26 OT loss to the Panthers.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you've heard this before: the Colts Offense comes into a game completely unprepared, shoots themselves in the foot more times than you can count, falls into a multi-score hole, then at the last possible second makes a furious comeback, making the game look a lot closer than the first 3+ quarters were in actuality. Monday night's 29-26 OT loss in Carolina to the Panthers is just like a multitude of games we've seen over the past 3.5 years, but now all those wins the Colts got early on are finally being evened out (like it tends to do) and the Colts are coming up short more times than not. We've all seen this story before, and it won't be a happy ending for those people in charge.

The Colts started with two turnovers in the first five plays, something we've grown accustomed to seeing now from the Colts, which gets talked about by everyone on how they need to clean that up, but ultimately nothing is done about it by anyone. The lack of accountability on this team, from top to bottom, just astounds me. The hole ending up stopping at 23-6, thank to a missed extra point by Panthers K Graham Gano, with 10:44 left in the game. After nearly 50 minutes of basically flailing their arms and going nowhere, the Colts flipped the switch and scored 17 points to force overtime, and had a couple chances to win the game in regulation (plus a big chance at losing it). The egregious officiating error on Griff Whalen sliding out of bounds certainly helped, but the Colts were in FG range at that point and would have just saved one or two plays that still didn't result in a TD, so it ending up not mattering. Well, insomuch as the game wasn't affected. Clock issues are just killing the officials this season, and they need to get it fixed.

Once the Colts got the coin toss I thought the game was over. The Panthers Defense was on field for seven and a half minutes after the Panthers final touchdown, and it was clear to everyone that they were completely gassed. So naturally, after going no-huddle and scoring 17 points in the final 11 minutes, the Colts go back to huddling and slowing the game down after getting a kick return out to the 45 yard line! They only had to go 55 yards to win the game, but like everything else this year, they found a way to screw that up by playing back into the Panthers hands, and not how they'd had so much success. I shouldn't be surprised at that type of mismanagement, but I just don't get it. He was asked a generic question about the up-tempo offense, but nothing specific to the first OT drive. Would be nice to know.

Something else that is pretty fitting for this team:

Let's take a look at the numbers, where the Offense went from complete five-alarm dumpster fire to just bad with the 4th quarter.

Non-Adjusted Stats from Week 8:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 58.3% 25 60.6% 5 N N 5-1
ANPY/A 2.612 25 6.324 16 N Y 7-1
Turnovers 4 26 3 4 N N 4-1
Yds/Drive 21.12 23 23.69 9 N N 4-1
ToP/Drive 2:06.9 24 2:06.2 3 N N 5-0
Yds/Play 4.274 23 5.192 14 N N 8-2
Orange Zone Eff 53.1% 16 53.6% 14 N N 2-2
First Downs/Drive 1.12 24 1.06 3 N N 5-1
3rd/4th Down 36.8% 14 33.3% 14 N N 5-0
Avg Start Pos 35.0 3 30.4 20 N N 5-0
3 and Outs 8 27 6 3 N N 5-0
RZ Eff 57.1% 17 66.7% 14 N Y 4-1
Plays/Drive 4.941 21 4.563 4 N N 3-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.179 1 0.753 15 N N 3-5
RB Success 41.4% 16 34.4% 7 N N 4-1
Yds/Carry 3.89 14 3.89 16 N N 3-3
Ranking - Week (28) 26 6 18
Ranking - Season (238) 231 25 140

Adjusted Stats from Week 8:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 62.8% 21 60.5% 9 N N 5-1
ANPY/A 4.713 19 7.591 18 N Y 7-1
Turnovers 3.3 25 2.9 5 N N 4-1
Yds/Drive 24.67 20 25.32 11 N N 4-1
ToP/Drive 2:12.5 23 2:10.5 1 N N 5-0
Yds/Play 4.980 15 5.367 15 N N 8-2
Orange Zone Eff 61.6% 10 49.7% 10 N N 2-2
First Downs/Drive 1.17 25 1.13 3 N N 5-1
3rd/4th Down 36.5% 14 35.3% 15 N N 5-0
Avg Start Pos 34.6 4 28.5 20 N N 5-0
3 and Outs 6.5 27 5.4 5 N N 5-0
RZ Eff 63.2% 16 66.0% 14 N Y 4-1
Plays/Drive 4.909 22 4.646 2 N N 3-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.580 8 0.913 12 N N 3-5
RB Success 44.5% 15 33.0% 6 N N 4-1
Yds/Carry 3.82 17 3.54 9 N N 3-3
Ranking - Week (28) 21 11 17
Ranking - Season (238) 214 26 122

Some thoughts:

  • Field Position was clearly not the problem for the Colts, as they had their best day of the season thanks to Turnovers and some good returns from the Special Teams.
  • The beauty of not being able to move the ball (which they were bad at Monday night) is that when they did move the ball, and scored points each time they did, the Orange and Red Zone Efficiencies look pretty good.
  • Four more Turnovers, and at least three other fumbles. You can blame the weather if you want, but then you'd have to ignore the last 25 games the Colts have played. Just keep chucking and praying.
  • The Defense did a pretty good job overall, ranking 11th of the weekend and 26th best game in the NFL on Defense this year. Can't complain about that.
  • They did a great job getting the Panthers off the field in a timely manner, especially in the fourth quarter, and while the final drive was helped by a bad play-call on 3rd down and 3 (why they didn't run Cam Newton I'll never know) to give the Colts the ball back, they got them off the field.
  • The Colts recovered their first two fumbles of the season on Defense! They also tend to even out over time, so it was bound to happen eventually.
  • Run Defense against one of the better running teams was also very good, ranking in the top 10 in both categories. As a whole, the Defense played well enough to win the game.

Season Totals through Week 8 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 69.0% 21 Patriots 68.6% 12 Seahawks 39-6 0.867
ANPY/A 4.769 26 Bengals 6.519 22 Broncos 48-6 0.889
Turnovers 2.51 30 Patriots 1.44 21 Eagles 46-15 0.754
Yds/Drive 28.77 19 Patriots 31.63 20 Broncos 37-10 0.787
ToP/Drive 2:30.0 26 Cowboys 2:44.0 19 Saints 42-21 0.667
Yds/Play 5.246 17 Cardinals 5.600 25 Broncos 45-8 0.849
Orange Zone Eff 56.5% 15 Patriots 54.0% 15 Eagles 41-9 0.820
First Downs/Drive 1.64 17 Patriots 1.60 8 Jets 41-15 0.732
3rd/4th Down 41.9% 10 Saints 38.8% 19 Texans 35-17 0.673
Avg Start Pos 27.7 25 Bengals 30.6 22 Bengals 46-11 0.807
3 and Outs 4.21 27 Bengals 3.63 17 Panthers 32-13 0.711
RZ Eff 67.2% 14 Jets 68.3% 22 Jets 42-16 0.724
Plays/Drive 5.604 16 Falcons 5.609 15 Titans 37-23 0.617
Penalty Yds / Play 0.776 13 Jets 1.169 1 Colts 27-29 0.482
RB Success 45.7% 14 Falcons 44.8% 19 Rams 25-30 0.455
Yds/Carry 4.47 9 Rams 4.18 20 Jaguars 28-28 0.500
Overall 22 Patriots 18 Broncos

Some thoughts:

  • It's hard to believe there are two worse teams at turning the ball over than the Colts, but the Titans and Lions fit the bill. The Offense continues to be decent on 3rd/4th downs, as well as in Yards per Carry, but of the five most important stats their best is at 19th.
  • The Defense was ranked 31st overall before the Patriots game, and have moved all the way up to 18th. I'll be honest: that's all they should have to do for this team, and anything better is a bonus. They aren't supposed to be the calling card, they just have to be average. They're holding up their end of the bargain.

Week-to-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Bills 88 208 177 94 223 201
2 Jets 208 137 212 154 123 157
3 Titans 135 133 141 93 184 147
4 Jaguars 181 97 154 221 140 222
5 Texans 29 181 83 27 202 100
6 Patriots 56 167 104 33 69 18
7 Saints 216 93 199 231 53 189
8 Panthers 231 25 140 214 26 122

There's a lot of blame to go around after yet another poor performance from the Colts Offense. A fairly nice bright spot is the play of the Defense, who has greatly improved over the past 3 weeks. If you somehow are still optimistic about this team, you'll certainly like seeing that. They'll be tested again next week against the Broncos who found Offensive success for the first time all year last week. The Offense can't get out of its own way, so we're just going to continue going through the same song-and-dance every week until a change happens. There are some things you can watch over and over again and get a great deal of enjoyment out of it (Super Troopers), but this Colts Offense is certainly not one of them. And everyone is to blame.