clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Week 4: Colts Offense by the Numbers

New, comments

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: SEP 29 Raiders at Colts Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Each week during the season, I will be walking through the data from the previous Colts game analyzing the numbers to form a sort of “what happened” narrative as well as comparing the Colts against all other teams in the league. For a glossary of the stats listed, reference Stats for the 2019 Season. Thanks to Pro Football Reference, NFL.com and the nflSCrapR project for being awesome sources of weekly data.


Too little. Too late. That is the narrative for the Indianapolis Colts offense in last Sunday’s week 4 showdown with the Oakland Raiders.

Two 3 & Out drives totaling -12 yards is a bad start. For the first 3 quarters, the offense was simply ineffective, managing only 10 points and 12 first downs with a 63% Drive Success Rate. 7 of the 10 points were from a short field gift-wrapped by the defense on a Derek Carr fumble.

Then in the 4th quarter, down 14 points, the offense finally awoke and scored 2 TDs on a 3-drive 91% DSR effort, only failing to convert a single series. Unfortunately, that series was a Jacoby Brissett pick 6, which ironically was the game winning touchdown.

On the whole, it was not a terrible offensive effort, but if you are going to spot the opponent 2 turnovers and 7 points then you need to be a lot better than “not terrible”.


TEAM TOTALS

Mouseover for definitions: Adj PPD, PPG, Yds, P/R%, DSR, xOPPD, Strt Fld, EPA/ply, wTSR, 1st%, Pen 1st/ Yds, 3DC, 3rd ytg, Expl Plys, TO, TOP%
The 1.55 Adj PPD includes -7 points for the pick six, which forces a 24 point day to only 18th place. Other key stats agree with that ranking as DSR (16th) shows the Colts were about average in moving the ball and EPA/ply (18th) reveals middle of the pack per play efficiency.

The rate-based stats show slightly less success (wTSR 23rd, 1st% 21st), which means a few explosive plays skewed the mean-based numbers a little high.

A consistent strength for the Colts went missing this week as 3rd down conversion rate dropped below 50% for the first time this year. This lack of success is likely due to the 8.6 yards to gain on 3rd, which was the longest on the season and the 7th longest of any team this week. The Colts offense was clearly not getting it done on 1st or 2nd downs like they usually do.


PASS TOTALS

Mouseover definitions: EPA/db, wPSR Cmp, Att, Yds, TD, Int, Sk, Sk Y, Rtng, 1st%, ANY/A, NY/A, YPA, Cmp %, aDOT, aYd, YAC, 20+ #/Yd

Jacoby Brissett wasn’t terrible, but he was also not good. Many posts I have read say that he played good enough for the team to win and while I don’t necessarily disagree, that is an awfully low bar to set for a QB. I mean 15 pieces of flair is the bare minimum.

21st in efficiency (EPA/ply), 22nd in per play success (wPSR), 20th in passing first down conversions (1st%) and 19th in yardage efficiency (NY/A) is typically not going to cut it. Historically, QBs that are below average in all of those numbers win only 22% of those games. So, yes, that is good enough to win, but only about 3-4 games a year.

For those that want to blame those numbers on receiver drops, you’re not completely wrong. However, even when removing those plays, Brissett was still below average in 3 of those 4 stats. Also, I’ve got to wonder how many of those drops happen if his JUGS machine isn’t set to ludicrous speed.

Week 4 was the first week that the Colts tried to stretch the field as reflected in a 10.5 yard average depth of target. That is the 4th longest of any team this week and by far the longest for Brissett this year (6.2 yds week 1). Unfortunately, that took a toll on his completion rate (52.2% 28th) and didn't result in more efficient yardage (YPA 26th). While the completion rate seems low, if you add back 4 drops and adjust for aDOT it is just about league average, so overall accuracy wasn't really an issue.

With 25% of the season in the books, Brissett’s average completion has traveled only 4.8 yards past the line of scrimmage (aYd), which ranks as the 29th shortest. For comparison, his 2017 aYd was 5.5 (27th). That HAS to get better and this week’s 14th ranked 6.0 aYd is moving in the right direction.

One area where Brissett did well this week was explosive plays, with 4 passes of 20+ yards for 126 yards total including a touchdown. He is tied for the most TD passes in the league but this is his first one of over 20 yards. It’s important that he be able to add to that explosive TD number. 6 of Brissett’s 10 TDs have come from within the 5 yard line and while a score is a score, QBs add more value when they can hit the endzone from far away. Co-leaders Patrick Mahomes has 7 TDs of 20+ yards and Lamar Jackson has 5.


RUSH TOTALS

Mouseover definitions: wRSR, Yds, Car, TD, Fum Lost, RSR, 1st%, YPC, 10+ #/Yd, 3rd, 3DC
For the first time this year, the colts running game was ineffectual. It provided neither the efficiency (24th wRSR ) nor volume (81 yards, 4 1st downs) that is needed to keep the offense from being 1 dimensional.

On the first 2 scoring drives, the running game played a prominent part accounting for 75% of the yards gained, but then it was shelved as the Colts running backs only touched the ball 6 times in the 2nd half.

M.Mack J.Brissett J.Wilkins N.Hines Total
Qtr Carries Yards Carries Yards Carries Yards Carries Yards Carries Yards
1 4 10 4 10
2 5 26 2 8 2 12 1 2 10 48
3 2 3 1 2 2 5 5 10
4 2 9 2 4 4 13
Total 11 39 5 19 4 17 3 6 23 81

This is definitely not a level of play that is “good enough to win”.


CONCLUSION AND NEXT MATCH-UP

This was a frustrating game to analyze, not just because it was a loss but because there wasn’t a single glaring issue that stuck out as “the reason” for the loss. It was just C-/D+ grades across the board. However, the Colts still scored 24 points and on the year the offense has been very productive (7th Adj PPD).

Next up, the Kansas City Chiefs. Oh . . . joy.

Their defense has given up 2.07 points per drive (18th), which is far stingier than Oakland. However, other efficiency stats suggest they are more vulnerable than the scoreboard has shown (DSR against 27th, EPA/ply against 21st, wTSR against 23rd, 1st% against 30th)

Their pass defense is 13th in efficiency (EPA/ply against) and they can get decent pressure on opposing QBs (15th sack rate). They give up a lot of first downs through the air though (1st% against 26th), so this is a good opportunity for Brissett to prove he can move the ball with his arm.

The Chief's rush defense has not been very successful (wRSR 28th), giving the Colts run game an opportunity to rebound. I expect Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni to dial up a lot of runs against Kansas City. Of course I thought that would happen in last year's playoffs too. You know, that game against KC where the RBs had only 5 carries in the first half.

SEASON TOTALS

Mouseover for definitions: Adj PPD, PPG, Yds, P/R%, DSR, xOPPD, Strt Fld, EPA/ply, wTSR, 1st%, Pen 1st/ Yds, 3DC, 3rd ytg, Expl Plys, TO, TOP%
Mouseover definitions: EPA/db, wPSR Cmp, Att, Yds, TD, Int, Sk, Sk Y, Rtng, 1st%, ANY/A, NY/A, YPA, Cmp %, aDOT, aYd, YAC, 20+ #/Yd
Mouseover definitions: wRSR, Yds, Car, TD, Fum Lost, RSR, 1st%, YPC, 10+ #/Yd, 3rd, 3DC