The Indianapolis Colts are now mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. That is a sad sentence to read during the prime of Andrew Luck’s career, but not a surprising fact given the circumstances surrounding the situation.
Rather than focus on that fact, let’s take a look at the 2017 Colts by the numbers.
Football Outsiders’ team DVOA ranking: 31st
- Colts are 30th in yards allowed per game, allowing 375.3 yards per game
- 30th in passing yards allowed per game, allowing 257.8 yards per game
- 23rd in rushing yards allowed per game, allowing 117.5 yards per game
- 31st in scoring defense, allowing 26.4 points per
- Defensive DVOA ranking: 24th
- Colts are 31st in total yards per game, gaining 290.7 yards per game
- 29th in passing yards per game, gaining 186.7 yards per game
- 20th in rushing yards per game, gaining 104 yards per game
- 27th in rush yards per attempt, averaging 3.7 yards per tote
- 30th in points per game, scoring 16.3 points per game
- Offensive DVOA ranking: 31st
The numbers don’t paint a pretty picture. The passing game is clearly missing the prowess that No. 12 brings to the table but that’s no shocker. For a second, it seemed that the running game may actually be close to average, but a peep at the yards per carry tells the whole story. The backs may be gaining more yards than their gun-slinging counterparts, but they’re not doing it at a very efficient rate.
Defensively, it’s more of the same. The run defense seems to have minimal effectiveness, while the pass defense is near the bottom of the league. If there’s any real caveat here, it’s that the defensive DVOA ranking is higher than the conventional stats would have suggested. This is somewhat encouraging, as it allows the thought that the volume statistics may not be presenting a holistic view of the defense.
However, looking at these defensive numbers from Week 8 and beyond (minus the snow globe outlier from last week), and where they would stand versus the rest of the league’s full season statistics, is a silver lining in a season of misery:
- 316.4 total yards allowed per game, ranks 7th
- 85.6 rush yards allowed per game, ranks 2nd
- 3.42 yards per carry allowed, ranks 3rd
- 230.8 pass yards allowed per game, ranks 21st
- 21.6 points allowed per game, ranks 15th
Oh, and this, too:
The Colts have shut down their opponents' run games on first down pic.twitter.com/G64oXBBgCK— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 10, 2017
Yes, I understand it’s not entirely fair to compare five games worth of play to the 13 games everyone else’s numbers reflect, but it’s still eye-opening.
The run defense is playing like a top-five unit the past five weeks. This is a testament to the additions that general manager Chris Ballard made during the offseason, which was heavy on filling out run-stuffing roles. This gives me optimism that the horseshoe is finally starting to build a roster around Luck that could be a boost to his Super Bowl prospects rather than the significant detriment it has been in the past. The Colts need to carry this momentum into the next three weeks as well as the 2018 season.
Luckily, there will be some assistance with keeping that head of steam going in 2018 in the form of a healthy Luck as well as the imminent firing of head coach Chuck Pagano, which will allow The Curse of Chuckie to be lifted from the Indianapolis locker room at last.