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2015 NFL Week 2: Inside the Colts Numbers - Turnover Fest

"We've gotta limit the Turnovers." This is a recording we've heard since the start of 2014. Please let me know when the Colts do something about it, after it cost the Colts yet again in a 20-7 loss to the Jets.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

On Thursday I talked about a lot of similarities between the start of the 2014 season for the Colts, and this season, with the only hope to change things would be to secure a victory in their Week 2 Monday Night game. It wasn't just that the Colts lost 20-7 to the Jets, but definitely how it all went down.

First, the lone positive: the Defense played well enough to win the game. Whether it was because the Colts made plays (which they did) or the Jets didn't take advantage of the equivalent of an FCS secondary in there for the Colts until they absolutely had to (which they also did), but 20 points should ALWAYS be few enough points for this team to win the game. The garbage time FG notwithstanding, do you want to see proof?

The end of that tweet has a lot of truth to it, but there have been some other complete stinkers he's put up, but in pretty much every one of those games the Defense also looked awful as well, so it didn't matter. I think a more apt description would be the worst game he's played where it directly affected the outcome. The turnovers, which I'll get into later, have officially become a coaching problem as well as a player problem. I realize the biggest one cannot be pinned on Andrew Luck, but the other four are all on him. And it's well past the point where he can just say "my bad" and he gets a pass. It's year 4. He needs to take much better care of the ball, and he needs to be coached to do the same, whether mentally or with appropriate plays.

Want more on the coaching? An outsider asks how in the world Chuck Pagano's job could be on the line after the last three seasons, and the light bulb goes on after tonight's performance. He's not an offensive guy, but this was the first time since 1997 (Jim Harbaugh baby!) that the Colts were shut out in back to back first halves. Yes a 29 yard FG was missed, but a 0 stands in the points column. You know what else could have helped fix that problem? Calling a timeout with 40 seconds left, the first of the half, to give your Offense another shot could have helped that immensely. Especially after the Jets missed the field goal. Twenty yards would have let McAfee at least attempt a FG, and they had two timeouts left. Inexcusable. The team being unprepared out of the gate is nothing new, but it's reassuring to know that the same should be expected throughout year four despite glaring issues in game-planning and early execution.

The other big news coming out of the game Monday is the health of Vontae Davis, who we now know suffered a concussion and has to pass the protocol before he can return to action. After he went out in the 2nd quarter, the Colts were down their top 4 CBs coming into the season (which we already talked about). I think the only reason the Colts were still in this game was because Ryan Fitzpatrick was who he has always been: a slightly below-average QB that does enough to stay on an NFL roster, who has pockets of brilliance mixed in with a bunch of missed throws.

The stats are just as awesome as you'd expect them to be. Here we go:

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 2:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 64.3% 30 71.0% 12 N Y 6-1
ANPY/A 3.649 29 6.800 15 N Y 7-0
Turnovers 5 31 1 17 N Y 6-0
Yds/Drive 31.18 20 31.27 14 N N 4-1
ToP/Drive 2:33.8 19 2:53.5 22 N N 4-2
Yds/Play 5.623 18 5.548 14 N N 5-1
Orange Zone Eff 33.3% 31 57.1% 12 N Y 7-2
First Downs/Drive 1.55 24 1.82 17 N Y 6-2
3rd/4th Down 42.9% 13 33.3% 9 Y N 3-3
Avg Start Pos 20.9 29 32.8 28 N Y 7-0
3 and Outs 4 19 2 18 N Y 6-2
RZ Eff 0.0% 31 81.0% 22 N Y 7-5
Plays/Drive 5.545 19 5.636 16 N Y 5-5
Penalty Yds / Play 1.377 18 1.452 13 N N 2-3
RB Success 40.0% 21 34.6% 6 N N 2-5
Yds/Carry 3.88 18 3.74 12 N N 2-4
Ranking - Week (32) 29 19 29
Ranking - Season (64) 58 38 58

Adjusted Stats for Week 2:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 69.6% 25 73.0% 18 N Y 6-1
ANPY/A 4.579 25 6.757 15 N Y 7-0
Turnovers 3.9 31 1.1 22 N Y 6-0
Yds/Drive 31.40 16 31.84 14 N N 4-1
ToP/Drive 2:32.7 17 2:58.1 23 N N 4-2
Yds/Play 5.722 13 5.575 14 N N 5-1
Orange Zone Eff 45.0% 30 55.7% 11 N Y 7-2
First Downs/Drive 1.69 22 1.87 20 N Y 6-2
3rd/4th Down 43.2% 15 35.6% 15 Y N 3-3
Avg Start Pos 22.0 29 30.2 28 N Y 7-0
3 and Outs 3.9 24 2.3 21 N Y 6-2
RZ Eff 21.4% 31 80.9% 23 N Y 7-5
Plays/Drive 5.528 18 5.760 18 N Y 5-5
Penalty Yds / Play 1.267 15 1.561 11 N N 2-3
RB Success 44.3% 19 39.6% 13 N N 2-5
Yds/Carry 3.92 18 3.86 12 N N 2-4
Ranking - Week (32) 28 15 28
Ranking - Season (64) 58 39 57

Some thoughts:

  • The one positive I can find: Both the Offense and Defense were above average on 3rd/4th downs. The Offense, thanks to the long drive that ended in nothing, and the Defense had a really good night until the 4th quarter, when they could have helped keep the Colts within a TD. So a positive with negative overtones. Just one of those nights.
  • This game would have been completely different without the two completely empty trips inside the red zone for the Colts. You can't say the Colts definitely would have won with those 10 points, but it certainly would have kept the air in the building and made the game very different.
  • The Colts Defense did ok stopping the run as well, except in the 4th quarter. When you're missing your top 4 corners, stopping the run isn't all the necessary though.
  • Over the first two games, the Colts starting field position is still behind the 20, including a 20.9 Monday. Even when the Colts got Turnovers, they were so deep in Colts territory it didn't help the Offense at all.

Season Stats through Week 2 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 75.2% 3 Steelers 65.2% 9 Rams 13-2 0.867
ANPY/A 5.250 23 Steelers 6.318 26 Broncos 17-0 1.000
Turnovers 2.20 32 Dolphins 1.34 30 Jets 14-2 0.875
Yds/Drive 30.68 8 Steelers 30.76 24 Broncos 8-2 0.800
ToP/Drive 2:47.0 8 Packers 2:43.0 22 Chiefs 12-5 0.706
Yds/Play 5.305 11 Steelers 5.388 25 Panthers 12-2 0.857
Orange Zone Eff 58.2% 9 Patriots 51.3% 12 Rams 15-3 0.833
First Downs/Drive 1.83 5 Steelers 1.64 15 Broncos 12-4 0.750
3rd/4th Down 47.4% 2 Steelers 33.1% 9 Broncos 9-5 0.643
Avg Start Pos 27.4 32 Jets 30.7 27 Steelers 17-2 0.895
3 and Outs 3.60 14 Giants 3.13 30 Panthers 9-4 0.692
RZ Eff 69.1% 11 Dolphins 65.8% 21 Jets 14-7 0.667
Plays/Drive 5.912 2 49ers 5.591 17 Titans 9-7 0.563
Penalty Yds / Play 0.877 25 Giants 0.966 2 Cardinals 6-5 0.545
RB Success 49.7% 2 Steelers 38.5% 7 Seahawks 4-12 0.250
Yds/Carry 4.09 21 Redskins 4.08 12 Cowboys 4-9 0.308
Overall 7 Steelers 19 Broncos

Some thoughts:

  • These numbers are pulling in stats from the last several weeks of last season, as a de facto preseason projection. That's why we're seeing the Colts Offense sitting at 7th. Unadjusted, only the Bears and Buccaneers have been worse to start the season. Yikes.
  • In 2013, the Colts were the best team in the NFL in protecting the football, something we were told over and over was because of extra emphasis put on taking care of the ball. Fast forward one season: 30th in Turnovers in 2014. Now eight in the first two weeks, most in the NFL.
  • To go with that, the Colts can't create any turnovers of their own, and rarely get their opponent off the field right away with a Three and Out. Coupling that with a pretty good 3rd/4th down Defense means they're giving up a bunch of yards on 1st/2nd downs.
  • The Colts are running the ball well and stopping the run (2nd and 7th). Huzzah! 0-2, and our rushing stats are a combined 8-21. Passing above average on both sides? 17-0 so far this year.

Week-by-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Bills 24 56 46 23 61 53
2 Jets 58 38 58 58 39 57

ESPN rolled out tonight with the stat "No team that started 0-2 in consecutive seasons has ever made the Playoffs in both seasons." At this point, I'm not buying that that stat will change, but I think we'll know after the next three weeks. It's certainly possible the Colts faced the best two Defenses in the entire NFL in the first two weeks, and that's why they struggled so mightily. The next three are AFC South games, and I'll really start to panic if the Colts are worse than 3-2. Until then we can go back and forth over what needs to be fixed, what has gone wrong, etc. But in this Super Bowl or Bust season, in order to win the Super Bowl you have to win the Division. The only way that is going to seemingly happen is to go 6-0 against the Titans, Jaguars, and Texans.