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 much. Too soon. That is what the Indianapolis Colts defense gave up in a week 4 showdown with the Oakland Raiders.
The bad news is that the defense gave up the 9th most points per drive on the week ranking 22nd, but the good news is that that is an improvement on the season total ranking of 29th. Wait, that sort of sounds like bad news too.
I really dislike EPA/carry as a stat for many reasons, but in this case I think it tells the better story, ranking the Colts defense 21st against the run this week. Frankly, I think it should even be lower than that.
The main disconnect here is that my stat is a rate stat measuring the % of plays that were successful and not simply averaging the amount of some metric (e.g. yards, EPA etc.). It’s the difference between mean based stats and median based stats. Usually median stats are a better metric for the run game, but in this case, Oakland had so many good runs that they weren’t simply outliers to be ignored.
CONCLUSION AND NEXT MATCH-UP
Last week, I wrote that because of the defense, this team is in trouble and I didn’t see much this week to sway me off that point. The Indianapolis defense is near the bottom of almost every one of my relevant stats and even Football Outsiders gives them a 31st DVOA ranking.
For those who have pinned their playoff hopes on having a decent game manager at QB, a good run game and a good defense, I’ve got bad news. The last leg of that stool is broken (and another one is creaking).