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.
Frustrating. Wretched. Atrocious.
A single word cannot encapsulate the offense that the Colts put forth last Sunday, yet perhaps one word can capture my feelings about it; disenchanted.
. . . and angry.
Two, two words capture my feelings; disenchanted and angry . . . and despairing. Three words . . . okay, among the words that describe my feelings are . . . I’ll start over.
For two weeks, I have taken an “if it ain’t broke” attitude towards Luck and the Colts’ conservative short yardage play, but not this week. In this game it broke; it broke bad.
Heinous. Impotent. Abysmal. Maybe numbers will help:
- 141 - total net passing yards
- 44% - completed passes that were thrown through the air for 0 yards or less.
- 35 - rushing yards from players, whose sole job is to get rushing yards.
Nope, numbers aren’t helping either. How about a picture?
6 drives of < 5 yards totaling 16 net yards including 2 drives where the offense was gifted a red zone start (thank you defense). That explains the 29th ranked 58% DSR.
Appalling. Horrific. Ineffectual . . . but better than the Patriots!!
At a league’s worst 3.7 yds per play, that kind of continued effort will earn the Colt’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 0 more wins. Well, okay, we still have the slate of AFC South games ahead, so that kind of play will earn the Colt’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 0-6 more wins.
The Colts couldn’t buy a first down with only 21% of their scrimmage plays converting, ranking 30th for the week. The third down conversion rate, which is key when you don’t put up explosive plays (and the Colts aren’t), dramatically fell from a season average of 61% (league best) to the week’s worst 17%. That drop is laid at the feet of a dreadful passing game.
In the previous 2 games, abbreviated passes worked because a 71% completion rate left a manageable average 5.7 yards to gain on 3rd downs, which they converted 62% of the time. Not this week.
Against the Eagles defense, Luck’s completion rate fell to 61%, leaving an average of 7.7 yards to go on 3rd down. With that much real estate left, it’s no surprise that 10 out of 11 drives eventually stalled.
The passing game has become a joke, ranking near the bottom of the league in just about every measurable for the season. Luck’s season 5.3 YPA is 31st in the league. Hey, isn’t YPA one of the really good passing stats that predict wins? Why, yes it is.
Luck’s sunken numbers are driven by an NFL low average depth of target of just 5.6 yards. I don’t know if the issue is play-calling, or Luck or receivers that just can’t get open, but it has to change if the Colts want to have any hope of winning.
For those that think dropped passes or phantom penalties were a problem, you’re not wrong. A few key catches or picked up flags and maybe we escape with a win. But so what?
That doesn’t change the underlying issue, which is either the Colts need to consistently complete 70+% of throws or throw longer passes. When you’re down a score with 39 seconds left and need to drive 90 yards, it’s probably a good idea to be able to throw farther than 0, 0, 5, 6, 4 and 5.
As bad as the passing game was, the run game isn’t entirely blameless either. A 27th place weighted Success Rate is bad but it had little to no impact as the Colts ran just 12 times (outside of Luck’s scramble).
Runs were primarily on 1st and 2nd downs as there were not many 3rd and short opportunities. The only third down run was Luck’s 33 yarder.
Nyheim Hines broke one for 14 yards, but the rest of the 11 Colts’ carries totaled a whopping 21 yards and only 2 first downs. With Marlon Mack out and playing from behind, the volume and quality of carries just wasn’t there.
CONCLUSION & SEASON TOTALS
There’s not much more to say. Watching this offense was unpleasant. Hopefully a return to health (Anthony Castonzo, Marlon Mack, Jack Doyle) will help right this foundering ship.
Here are the per game numbers for the season: