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2015 NFL Week 12: Inside the Colts Numbers - Total Team Win

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For the first time this year, not only did the Colts beat the Buccaneers 25-12, but they covered the spread as a favorite, meaning they finally were able to go out and beat a team soundly that they were supposed to beat. It's also three in a row for the Colts to get above .500 for the first time this season.

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

While listening to the 4th quarter of the Colts 25-12 victory over the Buccaneers Sunday, I was feeling something I haven't felt really at any point of any game this year: I was comfortable that the Colts weren't going to lose. It's been a long time since I've had that feeling, as we have to go all the way back to last season in Denver before we get to a game where the Colts won by more than one score. It was also the first game since Week 2 that wasn't decided by a touchdown or less, so a comfortable ride home was just what the doctor ordered. Want another first? It was the first time the Colts covered as a favorite in 2015. Finally, we see the Colts beat a team handily that they're supposed to beat. What a good sign.

It certainly didn't look like it would be a comfortable at halftime, as the Colts trailed 12-6 at the break after trading field goals for most of it, and before the Buccaneers found the end zone just inside the two minute warning. It wasn't your typical Colts no-show in the first half, as there were some signs of life, but the outcome was much like many of the other games we've seen so many times over the last four years: trailing at the half. But everyone came out like their pants were on fire, with the Offense scoring 19 points on their first four possessions of the half, thanks in large part to some defensive dominance, securing excellent field position on many drives and shutting out the Bucs, giving us our final score. The shutout came after Tampa Bay scored points on the only three drives they had in the first half, so it really was quite the turn-around.

I continue to be amazed this Colts team seemingly hasn't skipped a beat with Matt Hasselbeck under center, and there's no way you would have convinced me before the season that the Colts would be 4-0 if you told me Hasselbeck would have played in four games at this point. Elias tells us that this is just the second time in NFL history a 40+ year old QB has won four straight games, joining Brett Favre from 2009 with the Vikings. It's great that he's stepped in and is playing so well, but this mini-controversy about whether he'd still play if Andrew Luck is healthy is absurd. Luck is the QB of the Colts, and when he's able to play, he will and should play.

How did the numbers look in the Colts win Sunday? Let's dive into the Winning Stats and find out how pretty much everything I mentioned Friday in the preview article came true.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 12:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 78.1% 8 71.0% 14 N N 8-1
ANPY/A 7.756 10 4.561 8 Y N 9-2
Turnovers 0 1 1 13 N N 9-1
Yds/Drive 37.33 10 34.40 19 N N 8-1
ToP/Drive 3:36.1 4 2:45.5 17 Y N 9-1
Yds/Play 4.732 27 5.548 18 N Y 8-3
Orange Zone Eff 61.9% 16 46.4% 7 Y N 7-2
First Downs/Drive 2.56 4 2.10 23 N N 7-3
3rd/4th Down 43.8% 11 42.9% 19 N N 6-0
Avg Start Pos 32.5 3 18.8 1 Y N 6-1
3 and Outs 2 6 2 23 N N 3-5
RZ Eff 71.4% 15 42.9% 4 Y N 8-0
Plays/Drive 7.889 3 6.200 22 N N 3-2
Penalty Yds / Play 0.634 12 1.532 1 Y N 4-5
RB Success 23.1% 29 44.4% 21 N Y 4-2
Yds/Carry 1.04 32 6.29 31 N Y 2-3
Ranking - Week (32) 3 12 8
Ranking - Season (352) 50 156 47

Adjusted Stats for Week 12:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 74.3% 13 71.5% 13 N N 8-1
ANPY/A 6.596 13 4.537 8 Y N 9-2
Turnovers -0.2 5 0.8 18 N N 9-1
Yds/Drive 36.04 10 32.25 13 N N 8-1
ToP/Drive 3:22.0 5 2:40.7 16 Y N 9-1
Yds/Play 4.775 24 5.410 16 N Y 8-3
Orange Zone Eff 65.5% 14 51.4% 8 Y N 7-2
First Downs/Drive 2.29 7 2.02 19 N N 7-3
3rd/4th Down 39.5% 18 40.7% 16 N N 6-0
Avg Start Pos 29.8 7 18.9 1 Y N 6-1
3 and Outs 3.0 13 2.7 22 N N 3-5
RZ Eff 69.5% 19 52.4% 6 Y N 8-0
Plays/Drive 7.570 3 5.999 19 N N 3-2
Penalty Yds / Play 0.647 12 1.206 6 Y N 4-5
RB Success 18.6% 30 41.6% 17 N Y 4-2
Yds/Carry 1.56 32 5.72 30 N Y 2-3
Ranking - Week (32) 11 12 11
Ranking - Season (352) 90 183 123

Some thoughts:

  • This wasn't a game where one side was so outstanding it totally covered for the other, but for one of the few times this year both the Offense and Defense complemented each other nicely, playing an above average game all around. I'd love to see more games just like this one.
  • If the Colts don't turn the ball over though, I think they'll be very successful.
    It's amazing what happens when you don't turn the ball over. T.Y. Hilton did have a fumble out of bounds, but the Colts played a clean game against a Defense that has been very good at turning their opponents over. It was a big part in the Colts success Sunday.
  • Tampa's Defense appears to let teams move the ball with ease between the 20s, but they tighten up once teams get close to the end zone
    Four Adam Vinatieri field goals enough to convince you that some things can in fact be gleaned from stats? He also had a fifth one taken back down thanks to a Leaping penalty on the Buccaneers (I know none of you missed the irony in that happening again), so the struggle to score touchdowns was a good one all day.
  • The Bucs are the most penalized team in the NFL, in terms of penalty yards per play
    Like the aforementioned Leaping penalty, the Buccaneers couldn't help themselves by committing 12 penalties for 95 yards. It helped the Colts numerous times, and while it isn't a stat we use often when we break down games, it stood out before the game and didn't disappoint.
  • The Colts did a really good job moving the ball, but there weren't any big plays, ranking just 24th in Yards per Play. I also mentioned field position above, and the Colts finished 7th on Offense, and tops on Defense, as the Bucs started behind their own 20, on average.
  • The running game, on both Offense and Defense, was quite poor, especially on Offense. My only concern here is that it forces Hasselbeck to have to throw 40+ passes, which is not something sustainable if they want to win consistently.

Season Totals through Week 12 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 70.2% 14 Cardinals 69.6% 14 Panthers 64-10 0.865
ANPY/A 5.055 22 Bengals 6.089 19 Broncos 68-11 0.861
Turnovers 2.10 27 Packers 1.68 16 Panthers 71-24 0.747
Yds/Drive 29.44 17 Cardinals 31.21 23 Broncos 56-14 0.800
ToP/Drive 2:42.0 17 Cowboys 2:35.0 10 Panthers 67-26 0.720
Yds/Play 5.040 22 Steelers 5.632 26 Broncos 63-18 0.778
Orange Zone Eff 61.7% 6 Jets 55.8% 18 Redskins 60-17 0.779
First Downs/Drive 1.78 8 Patriots 1.62 9 Panthers 59-21 0.738
3rd/4th Down 44.0% 6 Saints 41.6% 24 Texans 51-25 0.671
Avg Start Pos 28.0 25 Chiefs 29.2 14 Bengals 65-16 0.802
3 and Outs 4.21 27 Vikings 3.39 22 Panthers 47-25 0.653
RZ Eff 71.4% 7 Jets 69.4% 22 Jets 62-25 0.713
Plays/Drive 5.929 7 Chargers 5.530 12 Texans 54-32 0.628
Penalty Yds / Play 0.763 10 Jets 1.121 2 Cardinals 44-41 0.518
RB Success 41.9% 23 Seahawks 43.7% 15 Rams 38-40 0.487
Yds/Carry 4.02 18 Vikings 4.34 21 Broncos 34-39 0.466
Overall 17 Bengals 20 Panthers

Some thoughts:

  • Because there are so many teams in the middle of the league, movement in overall rankings sometimes can be fickle, which is why the Offense stayed the same at 17th, the Defense is 20th, but overall the Colts moved up to 18th.
  • The bad areas on Offense are starting to get a little better, including Turnovers and Average Starting Position, while the good areas are staying at a high level.
  • The Defense continues their league-average play in a lot of categories, which I'm perfectly content with.

Week-to-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Bills 125 310 266 137 318 279
2 Jets 309 212 309 236 250 287
3 Titans 189 207 210 169 276 261
4 Jaguars 255 157 226 315 225 319
5 Texans 40 267 124 17 290 112
6 Patriots 80 251 151 40 169 50
7 Saints 326 145 293 348 121 309
8 Panthers 342 34 209 291 32 137
9 Broncos 36 153 39 10 195 27
10 BYE
11 Falcons 269 90 178 311 63 202
12 Buccaneers 50 156 47 90 183 123

The Colts have now won three straight, and as you can see from the table if you take out that dreadful Saints game, the Colts have done a 180 from their performance in the first 4 weeks of the season. Going forward the Colts have the easiest schedule in the NFL, which is a good thing as the Texans, who are still tied atop the AFC South (I know about the tiebreaker too), continue to play really good football as well. With just five weeks left, three of which against division foes, the Colts fate is still easily in their own hands. If they keep playing like they have since Week 5, things are going to be ok.