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Week 7: Colts Defense by the Numbers

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NFL: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

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.


The Houston Texans were in Indianapolis Colts territory an awful lot in week 7, but 2 interceptions, 3 sacks and a turnover on downs prevented Deshaun Watson from doing his usual Deshaun Watsony thing.

For the Colts, a 70% Drive Success Rate against isn’t anything to write home about but it is better than the league average defense. They gave up 21 first downs which, using a technical statistical term, is “a lot”, but 0 of them were via penalty.

The Indy D stopped 2 drives inside the 10 yard line limiting Houston’s success to just 2 TDs in 5 red zone trips.


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 stats are a little all over the place, but that often happens when there isn’t an extreme result. By points and ability to stop the opponent from moving the ball, the Colts did pretty well (Adj PPD 11th, DSR 11th). However at the play level, the efficiency numbers look a bit worse (EPA/ply15th, wTSR 20th, 1st% 24th).

These conflicting results are because the Colts defense wasn’t good until it was. What I mean by that is they gave up a lot of successful plays and first downs but then did something spectacular to kill the drive. 5 of the 11 Texan drives were stopped by sacks or interceptions. Some people might call that bend don’t break. I call it effective and hopefully repeatable.


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
DeSahaun Watson was held to 0.08 EPA/ply which ranks 13th on the week and isn’t bad, but is bad for him. Coming in to the game, he averaged 0.18 ranking 7th. By the other 3 main passing stats, the Colts defense showed their bend as Watson had a pretty good day (wPSR 10th, 1st% 8th, NY/A 5th).

The fact that Watson passed well but was still limited in points is a credit to the defense’s dontbreakedness.


RUSH TOTALS

Mouseover definitions: wRSR, Yds, Car, TD, Fum Lost, RSR, 1st%, YPC, 10+ #/Yd, 3rd, 3DC

Well, that’s not good. For the season, Football Outsiders ranks the Colts’ run defense 31st in the league and these numbers are part of the reason why.

A 23rd ranked wRSR is earned by giving up a first down on 1 of every 4 carries (6 total) and 4 explosive rushes. Fortunately, the Texans played from a deficit the whole game and couldn’t lean on their successful running to salt away a lead.


CONCLUSION AND NEXT MATCH-UP

Up next is the Denver Broncos. Their offense is, how shall I put this, . . . not good. Averaging 16 points a game with a 28th ranked Adj PPD, they have only scored more than 20 points once this year.

Joe Flacco has a cumulative negative passing EPA on the year which means their passing game (28th DVOA) would be more productive if they just didn’t run plays. All of their big 4 passing stats are in the bottom third of the league (EPA/ply 25th, wPSR 25th, 1st% 22nd, NY/A 25th). Flacco has been sacked on average 3.4 times each game. Only 13% of his passes are longer than 15 air yards, partly because he owns the 6th shortest aDOT in the league. This should not be a huge test of the Colt’s pass defense.

By DVOA the Denver run game ranks 15th. By wRSR they are 25th. Either way they aren’t very good. But of course both Football Outsiders and I both agree that the Indy run defense is really bad (31st DVOA, 25th wRSR). So the Denver offense may find more success on the ground.

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

TRAILING 5 WEEK 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