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2016 NFL Week 9: Inside the Colts Numbers - Three Phase Contribution

We saw the Offense, Defense, and Special Teams play a part in the 31-26 win over the Packers on Sunday, something we haven't been able to say very often lately. Will this springboard them into the second half of their season?

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Well, as we've seen time and again from the Colts, when they get their backs against the wall, they seem to deliver. Sunday afternoon in Green Bay, with their season teetering at 3-5 and heavy underdogs, they came out of the gate firing, and hung on for a 31-26 win, taking them to 4-5 on the season and into their bye week on a very nice note.

If you've had the feeling that you've seen this exact scenario before, you have, just one year ago. The Colts were 5.5 point home underdogs (very close to the 7 points they got Sunday) against the soon-to-be Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos, sitting at 3-5, and the team was in all sorts of disarray. The Colts came out firing, built a nice lead, and then hung on at the end to win, thanks to a long, multi-first down drive to end the game. As I was watching the game that's all I could think about, and the similarities are pretty stark. Obviously it doesn't seem as though Andrew Luck has an injury that is going to make him miss the rest of 2016, so that's a good change, and it makes it hard to gauge what happened last year and compare it to what we may see the final seven games this year.

I wish I had been at my computer during the game to see the Twitter reaction to Mike McCarthy going for 2 down 31-19, because I would have pointed you to some awesome "math" tweets. It was amazing to see people freak out because the Packers now "had to score two touchdowns" rather than "only needing a TD and FG". Of course, as all you smart readers know, you still would have to convert a two point conversion with the subsequent touchdown, so it isn't guaranteed to be "only a TD and FG". By going for two early, the Packers learned with plenty of time that they needed two more TDs, rather than finding out too late and not being able to recover. It gives you that urgency much quicker, and would have put them in prime position to win the game, if the Colts hadn't finished out the game on Offense.

How did the game look stats-wise? Let's dive in and find out.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 9:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 75.8% 12 77.8% 17 N N 3-2
ANPY/A 5.263 21 6.609 17 N Y 3-3
Turnovers 2 18 1 10 N Y 6-1
Yds/Drive 32.27 14 36.82 17 N N 2-4
ToP/Drive 2:43.9 12 2:43.4 14 N N 6-1
Yds/Play 5.379 14 6.231 20 N N 2-4
Orange Zone Eff 85.7% 4 55.1% 12 Y N 8-2
First Downs/Drive 2.00 12 2.27 19 N N 3-2
3rd/4th Down 50.0% 6 33.3% 11 Y N 5-1
Avg Start Pos 24.5 19 30.4 15 N Y 6-3
3 and Outs 3 13 3 10 N N 3-2
RZ Eff 85.7% 8 71.4% 14 N N 4-2
Plays/Drive 6.000 13 5.909 13 N N 5-2
Penalty Yds / Play 0.530 5 0.385 26 N N 3-2
RB Success 40.0% 14 57.1% 26 N Y 3-5
Yds/Carry 3.04 19 6.11 24 N Y 1-3
Ranking - Week (26) 11 18 18
Ranking - Season (266) 117 173 162

Adjusted Stats for Week 9:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 77.3% 9 74.1% 16 N N 3-2
ANPY/A 5.713 16 6.552 15 N Y 3-3
Turnovers 1.9 20 0.7 15 N Y 6-1
Yds/Drive 32.87 13 36.39 18 N N 2-4
ToP/Drive 2:34.4 13 2:34.0 11 N N 6-1
Yds/Play 5.684 13 6.285 19 N N 2-4
Orange Zone Eff 84.3% 4 51.4% 9 Y N 8-2
First Downs/Drive 1.96 9 2.06 16 N N 3-2
3rd/4th Down 50.9% 8 27.1% 6 Y N 5-1
Avg Start Pos 22.8 22 30.7 16 N Y 6-3
3 and Outs 3.9 16 2.8 12 N N 3-2
RZ Eff 92.0% 4 74.3% 18 N N 4-2
Plays/Drive 5.865 12 5.709 13 N N 5-2
Penalty Yds / Play 0.183 1 0.517 21 N N 3-2
RB Success 45.3% 8 63.0% 26 N Y 3-5
Yds/Carry 3.92 15 5.60 22 N Y 1-3
Ranking - Week (26) 10 13 8
Ranking - Season (266) 109 165 161

Some thoughts:

  • The first thing that jumps out to me is the Colts were below average on both sides of the ball in our passing stat, Adjusted Net Passing Yards per Attempt and Turnovers, yet still won the game. In fact, the Colts were the only team to win in Week 9 despite having 2+ turnovers while only forcing one or fewer (all six others lost).
  • The Colts continued their dominance in the Orange/Red Zone, finishing 4th best on the week in both categories. They'll be able to stay in any game if they continue scoring touchdowns when they get into enemy territory.
  • They also moved the ball fairly well, converting half of their 3rd/4th downs, including two gigantic ones on the final drive to seal the game.
  • It was by far their best game in terms of penalties, which is a welcome sign.
  • The Defense had their best game of the season on 3rd/4th down, getting the Packers off the field 2/3 of the time, and when you adjust for opponent, they were 6th best of the week. Big reason why they won.
  • The Packers have one of the worst rush Offenses in the NFL, and the Colts finished dead last in RB Success Rate. So much for stopping the run.
  • Overall they were "average", which is exactly what I ask for from them each week. And the Colts won. How about that?!

Season Stats through Week 9 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 73.2% 9 Cowboys 74.0% 29 Ravens 46-8 0.852
ANPY/A 5.745 17 Falcons 7.024 29 Broncos 51-7 0.879
Turnovers 1.51 13 Raiders 1.11 30 Chiefs 56-16 0.778
Yds/Drive 30.78 11 Falcons 36.01 30 Ravens 36-11 0.766
ToP/Drive 2:40.0 16 Cowboys 2:42.0 14 Ravens 53-21 0.716
Yds/Play 5.345 17 Falcons 6.043 30 Broncos 32-14 0.696
Orange Zone Eff 62.5% 7 Saints 61.8% 25 Rams 46-17 0.730
First Downs/Drive 1.82 9 Cowboys 2.08 29 Ravens 41-12 0.774
3rd/4th Down 39.7% 13 Saints 40.3% 23 Dolphins 46-13 0.780
Avg Start Pos 27.1 28 Chargers 28.6 11 Patriots 55-26 0.679
3 and Outs 3.63 16 Redskins 3.11 24 Ravens 31-18 0.633
RZ Eff 80.8% 3 Raiders 73.4% 28 Saints 41-22 0.651
Plays/Drive 5.751 10 Cowboys 5.894 22 Ravens 44-23 0.657
Penalty Yds / Play 0.849 19 49ers 0.940 9 Titans 39-26 0.600
RB Success 48.9% 8 Bills 51.5% 29 Ravens 23-41 0.359
Yds/Carry 4.13 18 Bills 4.66 26 Ravens 25-32 0.439
Overall 11 Falcons 30 Ravens

A few thoughts:

  • The Offense fell a few spots this week, but they are still really good at moving the ball down the field, and when they get into scoring position, they are scoring touchdowns. They'd be a lot worse than 4-5 if they weren't so good in the Red Zone.
  • The Defense's numbers went up after their performance in Green Bay, but not enough to pass anyone in the standings, still sitting at 30th overall. The numbers are all pretty disappointing.

Week-to-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Lions 10 260 140 68 246 186
2 Broncos 182 206 226 120 251 224
3 Chargers 110 89 68 63 79 32
4 Jaguars 132 120 116 143 170 189
5 Bears 99 190 161 82 235 193
6 Texans 150 165 183 73 248 196
7 Titans 16 204 72 32 175 63
8 Chiefs 230 179 241 215 182 233
9 Packers 117 173 162 109 165 161

Not their best game on either side of the ball, but overall it was the Colts third best game of the season, behind the Titans and Chargers games. I'm trying not to be cynical, but this season still hasn't shown us anything different from the first four years of the Chuck Pagano era, so I'm expecting a lot of the exact same things we've seen over and over, because nothing has changed in the first half of the season. A victory before the bye week always stirs up the "positive momentum" comments, but I'm very skeptical this is a turning point. I think we found out more about the Packers (they aren't as good as advertised) than the Colts.