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.
Unsurprisingly, Dallas came out running the ball against the Colts last Sunday as Ezekiel Elliott found some initial success, hoarding the Time Of Possession in the first half.
Somewhat surprisingly (well it was surprising to me), the Colts also found rushing success, slowing the game and giving each team only 7 offensive drives on the day (the last kneel-down drive excluded). That’s the fewest drives of any game all year.
The Colts scored on 5 of those drives but only the first one was needed.
The only poor Colt’s drive was Marlon Mack’s fumble. Even the Rigoberto Sanchez punt came on a drive that was “matriculating down the field” with 4 first down conversions before a veritable butt-load of penalties killed it.
23 offensive first downs is a lot. 23 first downs on 7 drives is ridiculously good and is why the Drive Success Rate was a sky-high 82%.
23 points is good, but on only 7 drives it is great and ends up being the 3rd most Adjusted Points per Drive (3.3) of the week. Even with the game slowed down, the Colts put up a lot of yards and having 1 out of every 3 plays be a first down is an excellent way to win games.
Over the past few weeks, third down conversions have been problematic but this weeks 67% conversion rate led the league. The Cowboys did their part as well, extending Colt drives 3 times with penalties.
Coming in to the game, the Dallas defense was ranked 19th against the pass (Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt against). So, it’s not that surprising that Andrew Luck basically played a little bit better than his season average.
While his completion % was lower than usual, the Yards after Catch was very good (2nd week in a row!) Luck missed his only passing TD attempt, but 0 picks and 0 sacks kept his ANY/A at a decent 7.1
The most important number, however, is that over 40% of Luck’s passes were first down conversions. So, even though the passing volume was low and the efficiency just a bit above average, the passing game kept the chains moving. In fact, only 2 other passing offenses had more success converting first downs last week.
As of last week, Dallas ranked 7th in preventing successful runs (weighted Rush Success Rate), but against that stout defense, the Colts exceeded their season wRSR average (44% vs 39%) while putting up the 3rd most rushing yards on the season (178).
Marlon Mack was over 80% of that production with the 2nd most carries of any running back this week. He put up a 5.3 YPC, a 51% wRSR, which was 5th best of any RB (min 10 carries) and he scored the only TDs of the game. He was, as the kids used to say, en fuego.
CONCLUSIONS & NEXT MATCH-UP
There is no question that the Colts offense was firing on all cylinders against the Cowboys and even with the mental errors of penalties and drops (I’m looking at you Pro-Bowler) , they had no problem moving the ball and scoring.
Next up are the New York football Giants. They will bring a pass defense that has managed to consistently limit QBs (9th in ANY/A against). They tend to give up passing yards but are stingy with points, tied for 5th fewest passing TDs given up (1.3 per game) and 5th most interceptions on the year (15). However, their run defense is not nearly as good giving up the 20th highest wRSR on the year and the 25th most rushing TDs (1.1 per game).
The Colts are heavy favorites at home (-9.5) so, hopefully we see another dominant offensive performance.