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2016 NFL Week 7: Inside the Colts Numbers - Offensive Explosion

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We finally saw the Colts Offense break out and play like we all think they can, carrying the Defense to a 34-26 win in Nashville against the Titans. Did this save the Colts season?

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Colts Offense played their best game of the year, and the Defense capped off another rough outing with a strip/sack/touchdown to seal the game with two minutes to go, and the Colts managed to keep themselves in the AFC South race with a 34-26 victory against the Titans in Nashville, their first division and road win of the season.

For the second straight week the Colts took command of a game early on, even if they did give up an opening drive touchdown. They scored on three of their first four possessions, and had a nice drive going up 17-6, and got 19 yards on a 3rd and 21 screen pass to midfield, setting up a 4th and 2 with 3:12 to go. Now again, I'll remind you, the Offense was moving really well, and Chuck Pagano decided to "trust his Defense" before the half, punting the ball away, which was once again bumbled at the goal line, resulting in a touchback. As you all know, the Titans went 80 yards before the end of the half, making the game much closer than it should have been before the half. Even if the Colts are stopped, and the Titans still score a TD, the Colts have plenty of time to try and score more points before the half, rather than what they did, which was just take a knee and end the half. I really wish Pagano understood the strength of his team.

Andrew Luck did something Sunday that Peyton Manning never did, and only one other Quarterback has done in NFL history. From Elias:

Luck never loses to Titans

Andrew Luck improved to 8-0 in eight career starts against the Titans in the Colts' 34-26 win at Tennessee. The last quarterback to win his first eight or more starts against a particular team was Joe Flacco, who won his first 13 against the Browns from 2008 to 2013. No other starting quarterback had ever won eight straight decisions against the Oilers/Titans franchise. The previous record belonged to Luck's predecessor, Peyton Manning, who won seven consecutive starts against Tennessee from 2003 to 2006.

We won't have to wait long to see if this streak is extended, as the Titans return to Indianapolis in less than a month.

Just how well did the Offense play Sunday? It was quite impressive. Let's jump in.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 7:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 82.9% 2 80.6% 25 N N 4-0
ANPY/A 9.780 4 6.175 15 N N 7-1
Turnovers 0 1 1 15 N N 8-2
Yds/Drive 46.89 2 33.10 17 N N 3-1
ToP/Drive 3:36.7 3 2:45.0 14 Y N 4-3
Yds/Play 6.492 7 4.868 11 Y N 4-1
Orange Zone Eff 71.4% 6 77.1% 27 N N 6-2
First Downs/Drive 2.89 2 2.60 26 N N 3-0
3rd/4th Down 40.0% 17 60.0% 28 N N 4-4
Avg Start Pos 27.0 11 23.1 7 N N 3-5
3 and Outs 1 5 2 16 N N 1-2
RZ Eff 71.4% 11 100.0% 29 N N 5-1
Plays/Drive 7.222 3 6.800 25 N N 2-4
Penalty Yds / Play 2.015 29 0.559 22 N Y 4-5
RB Success 54.5% 9 70.4% 29 N N 3-4
Yds/Carry 3.38 25 4.43 16 N Y 2-3
Ranking - Week (30) 1 22 10
Ranking - Season (214) 12 163 57

Adjusted Stats for Week 7:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 87.0% 1 80.6% 27 N N 4-0
ANPY/A 10.074 1 6.632 18 N N 7-1
Turnovers 0.3 6 0.9 18 N N 8-2
Yds/Drive 45.70 2 34.59 18 N N 3-1
ToP/Drive 3:32.5 2 2:42.2 14 Y N 4-3
Yds/Play 6.437 4 5.005 12 Y N 4-1
Orange Zone Eff 65.0% 9 68.9% 25 N N 6-2
First Downs/Drive 2.93 2 2.64 28 N N 3-0
3rd/4th Down 40.6% 16 53.8% 27 N N 4-4
Avg Start Pos 28.3 13 24.4 9 N N 3-5
3 and Outs 0.9 5 2.0 20 N N 1-2
RZ Eff 68.3% 14 86.2% 29 N N 5-1
Plays/Drive 7.118 3 6.862 25 N N 2-4
Penalty Yds / Play 1.595 26 0.531 25 N Y 4-5
RB Success 57.8% 7 64.0% 30 N N 3-4
Yds/Carry 3.77 24 4.22 15 N Y 2-3
Ranking - Week (30) 1 24 11
Ranking - Season (214) 9 161 54

Some thoughts:

  • Biggest key to being the #1 Offense on any given week? Being #1 in our top two stats, Drive Success Rate (87%) and Adjusted Net Passing Yards per Attempt (10.1). Add in no turnovers and it's a recipe for an outstanding Offensive weekend.
  • What else did they do well? Yards, Time of Possession, First Downs, and Plays per Drive all in the top 3, and almost 6.5 yards per play, good enough for 4th in the NFL this weekend.
  • I'll nitpick a bit...they didn't get to too many 3rd/4th downs, but when they did they weren't all that good, converting just 40% of them. They need something to work on.
  • I'm not sure what else can be said about the Defense, other than they came up big at the end when they were needed to finish a game off. Doesn't excuse yet another lackluster performance overall.
  • The Titans Offense, as a whole, is right around league average, so there isn't a whole lot of adjusting that took place here. They struggled to get them off the field, shown by both Drive Success Rate and 3rd/4th Down percentage, and they let them score touchdowns each time they entered the red zone.
  • The Titans were also able to run the ball at will, having a RB Success Rate over 70%. But in the end the amount of damage it does is pretty minor.
  • Sunday was the most the Colts have been penalized in a long time (at least that I can remember). I'll assume it is an anomaly for now, but something to keep an eye on.

Season Stats through Week 7 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 74.5% 6 Cowboys 75.4% 29 Cardinals 38-5 0.884
ANPY/A 6.280 10 Falcons 7.254 28 Vikings 43-2 0.956
Turnovers 1.38 11 Bills 1.15 29 Vikings 47-14 0.770
Yds/Drive 33.04 8 Falcons 37.45 31 Ravens 29-7 0.806
ToP/Drive 2:46.0 11 Cowboys 2:45.0 16 Texans 40-19 0.678
Yds/Play 5.543 11 Falcons 6.144 30 Broncos 26-8 0.765
Orange Zone Eff 59.6% 11 49ers 63.6% 26 Eagles 35-13 0.729
First Downs/Drive 1.95 6 Cowboys 2.23 32 Ravens 35-10 0.778
3rd/4th Down 39.0% 17 Patriots 42.9% 25 Dolphins 35-11 0.761
Avg Start Pos 27.8 27 Chargers 26.9 3 Patriots 43-22 0.662
3 and Outs 3.15 8 Redskins 2.95 27 Texans 26-16 0.619
RZ Eff 75.8% 8 Saints 74.0% 27 Seahawks 35-15 0.700
Plays/Drive 5.950 7 Cowboys 6.033 25 Texans 35-20 0.636
Penalty Yds / Play 0.937 21 Cowboys 1.080 4 Packers 31-23 0.574
RB Success 48.3% 7 Cowboys 51.6% 30 Ravens 19-31 0.380
Yds/Carry 4.07 20 Bills 4.76 28 Jets 20-24 0.455
Overall 6 Cowboys 31 Cardinals

A few things:

  • Offense is 6th overall, behind the likes of the Cowboys, Falcons, Lions, Patriots, and Saints. Pretty good company to be in. The only thing they don't do really well is Yards per Carry, and I'll never get hung up on that. They also give the Defense the 3rd best field position, something that makes absolutely no difference to them unfortunately.
  • Only the Lions have a worse Defense than the Colts, which is quite an impressive feat, as the Colts Defense really hasn't shown us anything this year, and the numbers prove it.
  • Chuck Pagano said his Defense does what his Defenses always do: hard-nosed (ding) and stop the run. With all due respect Chuck, which Defense are you watching? No matter how you measure it, they are awful stopping the run. But even worse is they can't stop the pass, and that's why the Defense is as bad as they are.

Week-to-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Lions 8 209 114 60 186 147
2 Broncos 143 167 180 88 184 163
3 Chargers 87 74 52 53 88 40
4 Jaguars 104 99 92 134 159 174
5 Bears 79 155 129 67 201 164
6 Texans 119 134 147 61 193 150
7 Titans 12 163 57 9 161 54

The Defense played a little better (getting Turnovers always helps), but it's still well below league average. The Offense, on the other hand, has played well in six of their seven games. Have they been perfect? Of course not. But they've played pretty well, and kept the Colts in every game this season.

I wouldn't go as far as this win "saved the season" for the Colts, but their season would have been done at 2-5, 0-3 in the Division. Now, with the other three AFC South teams losing this weekend, the Colts still have a fighting chance to win the division, but the battle is uphill with a tougher schedule than either the Titans or Texans (Jacksonville is toast). The Colts do have one very distinct advantage though: they have Andrew Luck, and he's getting better as the season goes on.