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Indianapolis Colts by the Numbers: Week 17 Defensive Stats

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

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, and the nflSCrapR project for being awesome sources of weekly data.

It’s difficult to talk about how good a defense is when the opposing offense was clearly hobbled, but I’ll do it anyway. The Colts defense against the Titans was excellent.

Indy’s D forced 6 punts on the first 7 drives, limiting the Titans to just a field goal and the following 4 drives included 2 interceptions and a turnover on downs.

Tennessee only managed 11 first downs and a 52% Drive Success Rate. That defensive effort is in the 95th percentile of any team on the year.


I like most of those numbers, but my favorite is Third Down Conversions of 11%. That is the 3rd best mark of the week and the “all down” conversions of 22% ranks 8th.

I also like that only 1 first down was given up by penalty.


The defense didn’t manage any sacks, but they did hold Blaine Gabbert to only 165 yards through the air. A low Yards per Attempt was lowered even more in Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt due to 2 interceptions.

Yards After Catch given up was a little high but a lot of that was due to the mere 3.4 air yards per completion.


Indianapolis stifled the Tennessee running game. Derrick Henry was the only Titan to touch the ball on the ground and while he managed 5.8 Yards per Carry that is skewed by 2 long runs.

On the day he was held to under 100 yards and over half of his runs were for less than 3 yards. His only real contribution was 4 first downs resulting in an low overall Success Rate was low.


You could look at this as more a failure by the Titans as opposed to a win by the Colts, but against a bad offense, a good defense will dominate and that is what happened here.

Next, the Colts defense travel to NRG Stadium (again) to try and make a below average Houston offense look even worse. Here is how each team ranks in terms of passing (ANY/A) and running (wRSR).


Rank HOU Off IND Def
Rank HOU Off IND Def
Pass 20th 11th
Run 28th 4th

The top 5 Colts run defense should have the advantage over the bottom 5 Texans run game. They manage to put up yards but their success rate is low.

It’s the match-up against the pass that is more interesting. Deshaun Watson has a top 5 YPA of 8.2, so even if the Colt’s get an early lead, game script will work against the Indy defense. The Achilles’ heel of Houston’s pass game is Watson’s tendency to hold the ball (3.01 seconds 4th longest in the league).

In the first 2 games against the Texans, Watson threw for 642 yards at 8 yards per attempt for a cumulative 101 passer rating. However, over the two games, the Colts sacked him 12 times resulting in a pedestrian ANY/A of 6.4 and limiting him to 3 passing TDs. It’s going to take that kind of constant pressure to keep the Watson genie in the bottle.


SEASON TOTALS (per game)