Every week, I will present a summary of some basic and advanced stats for the Colts performance relative to the league. Thanks to Pro Football Reference, NFL.com and the nflSCrapR project for being awesome sources of weekly data.
It’s been 4 weeks and I’m still not sure what this defense is. DVOA has the Colts D ranked 10th, which seems high to me, but not ridiculously so. Maybe I’m just being stubborn, but even if the “true” ranking is just average, that’s a hell of a lot more than I expected in August.
Against the Texans, the defense ended up surrendering 37 points but 6 of that was in OT, 7 was from a Texans defensive score, and another 7 was off of a micro-field gifted by another Colts turnover deep in their own territory. The point is that the defense played well enough to win this game.
As always, I look to DSR first and a mark of 75% is indicative of giving a way a lot of movement up and down the field. If I remove overtime, then it falls to about 71% which is better than last week and also precisely what the Colts offense put up this week (and why DSR is an awesome stat: tie in DSR, go to OT).
One driver of that slightly improved performance is that the Colts defense only gave away one first down on penalties. That was the Achilles heel against the Eagles that caused the “bend” to “break”.
Last week, I wrote that I didn’t think 5 sacks and 2 turnovers was repeatable and since the defense notched 7 sacks and 1 turnover I guess I was technically right . . . but not really.
The defense gave up a lot of 1st downs (35% of plays) and let Houston convert 3rd downs at a 50% clip. Given that Indy forced Houston into an average 8.1 yards to gain on third, that should have been a lot lower. That is where you keep the “bend” from breaking.
Houston’s aDOT of 7.2 isn’t that long, so they weren’t really stretching the field, but their air yards per completion of 7.6 is longer, which is unusual. It means they completed long passes at a higher rate than short ones. Not sure what to make of that because this defense is supposed to experience the opposite.
After the catch, the Colts limited the Texans to 5.4 YAC which ranks 12th for the week and something they have been good at all season.
While the Colts surrendered 119 rush yards, they were stingy from an efficiency perspective. Only 6 of Houston’s 35 carries resulted in first downs. Often, that is a sign of a team running out the clock but that wasn’t the case here.
The Colts did let Houston go 3 for 3 on rushing third down conversions but overall, less than 1 in 3 Texan runs were successful and weighted success rate ranks that as 4th best this week.
All the numbers point to Indy having an average to good defense, which is hard for me to believe, but there it is. If the offense can stay on the field and stop turning the ball over in opponent territory, the D may be able to shine a little brighter.