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.
Similar to the offense, the Colts defense, while not as good as the previous 3 weeks, was still pretty good in Week 12.
Miami was able to put up 24 points (2.2 per drive) which isn’t a great stat for the Indy D but they held the Dolphin Drive Success Rate to a stingy 63.6%.
The different stories that adjusted Points per Drive and DSR are telling lies with the 74 yard
Pierre Desir interception Ryan Tannehill TD. It counts as 7 points for 1 drive, but DSR inherently places a low weighting on that drive as it was but a single series of downs.
Beside that play, the defense forced 5 three-and-outs and came up big when needed, giving net negative yards on Miami’s last 2 drives allowing the offense to put up the game winning 10 points.
This shows the high DSR ranking (4th) relative to the 15th place Adj PPD. Basically, DSR is saying that the manner in which the opponent got points (explosive play, short field) is not repeatable. But if you want to argue that the defense was actually worse in this game because it’s the volume of points and not how they were scored that matters, then I won’t squawk.
But again, outside of that one play, the defensive numbers are very good. They limited Miami on first down conversions (6th place) in part by forcing an 8 yard to gain average on third downs (8th place). Also, they gave away only 1 first down on penalties.
The passing defense is hard to judge because that one play was so impactful (36% of passing yards). Only 30.8% of Tannehill’s passes were for first downs which is 21st lowest in the league and his yard volume ranks 20th.
If instead of a TD, Desir actually makes the interception, then holding everything else constant, Tannehill would have put up a horrible 73.3 passer rating with a miserable 3.8 ANY/A, which would rank the passing defense around 5th place. But the TD happened and a 9.3 ANY/A ranks 24th.
I just can’t be down on the passing defense for the whole game because of one play.
The rushing defense was a mixed bag. Out of 14 combined 1st and 3rd down carries, Miami was held to just one first down conversion. But on Sunday, 2nd downs were the Colts Achilles’ heel as 10 carries yielded 7 Yards per Carry for 4 first downs including a 23 yarder from Frank Gore and a 14 yard Kenyan Drake touchdown.
Altogether that was a 34.6% weighted rushing success rate which ranks 14th for the week and is significantly higher than what the Colts normally yield.
However, the key rushing stat is Miami 4th quarter rush yards of -1 on 3 attempts for 0 first downs forcing 2 punts and using only 2:09 of clock. If that didn’t happen, the Colts don’t win.
CONCLUSIONS & NEXT MATCH-UP
The Colts gave up 24 points to a team that averages almost 20, so that’s not good, but I still consider this game to be a good defensive effort. 10 of Miami’s points came from great field position (missed FG, blocked punt) and another 7 came from a fluke play. When it mattered most, the Colts didn’t break. That’s what good defenses do.
And that is something that our week 13 opponent knows well. The Jacksonville defense ranks 4th in terms of DSR against and 9th in Adj PPD. Against the pass, they limit opposing QBs to just 6.1 ANY/A (9th best) and they are 5th against the rush in terms of wRSR.
As good as they are, those impressive numbers didn’t stop the Colts offense against them in week 10 and with a “high level of concern” over Jalen Ramsey’s availability those stats may belie the next match-up.