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.
For 2 weeks in a row the Indianapolis Colts defense has played shut-down football.
Some may downplay the defensive performance because the Miami Dolphins offense is not exactly world-beaters, averaging just over 13 points a game. However, 13 first downs and a 54.2% DSR is the 2nd worst production they have had all year. If Brian Hoyer doesn’t gift them the ball deep in Colts territory twice, they likely only score 6 points on the day.
The Colts defense forced five 3 & outs, grabbed 2 turnovers and sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick6 nope he got away 3 times.
The Colts prevented Miami from moving the ball (DSR against 7th, 1st/ply against 4th) and kept their per play value to a bare minimum (EPA/ply against 6th, wTSR against 2nd).
They gave up 1 first down on penalty and even that was a total B.S. questionable roughing the passer call. They held Miami 3rd down conversions to 37.5% (3DC against 11th). And all of that happened with Miami having the 3rd best starting field position of any team this week.
By most measures, the Colts defense caused Ryan Fitzpatrick to have a bad day (EPA/ply against 6th, wPSR against 2nd, NY/A against 2nd). He had to settle for short passes (aDOT against 1st), but he did find marginal success getting first downs through the air (1st/db against 17th).
The Miami run game was held to minimal production. They managed only 1 first down that came on a TD run after Hoyer handed the ball to them on the 12 yard line.
They only managed 70 yards while having the 4th worst success rate (wRSR) and 5th worst EPA per carry. Their YPC mirrors those stats notching a 5th worst 2.7 measure.
CONCLUSION AND NEXT MATCH-UP
Back to back outstanding performances by the Colts defense. They have steadily been improving throughout the year and Football Outsiders now ranks them 10th by DVOA. Over the last 5 games, they have given up the 7th fewest points per drive of any team (Adj PPD) and the 6th lowest DSR.
I didn’t think I would say this this year, but the Indy D is no joke. The Jacksonville Jaguar offense on the other hand . . .
With Nick Foles returning as starting QB and the team coming off a bye, it is tough to say what to expect from the Jags offense. While DVOA ranks them 14th, they rank 23rd in points per drive (Adj PPD), their DSR is an unimpressive 26th and the other stats I care about aren't much better (EPA/ply 19th, wTSR 22nd, 1st/ply 22nd).
Of course almost all of that production was with Gardner Flint Minshew II at the helm, who despite the mania, isn’t currently a very good QB (24th QBR, 20th EPA/ply, 25th wPSR). I expect the passing game to improve with Foles throwing the ball, but with this being his first game back and only having 8 pass attempts with this offense, who knows what production he will have. His 8 passes so far has looked good (62.5% cmp rate, 9.4 NY/A, 1 TD, 0 picks)
Despite the marquis name of Leonard Fournette, the Jacksonville rushing game may be worse then their passing. By DVOA they rank 24th and I have them at 29th in rushing success (wRSR). They don’t convert many first downs on the ground (1st/c 22nd) and they only have 1 rushing TD all year -- not just Fournette, the whole team! They do like to run though (9th yards, 12th carries). Will they focus more on passing now that Foles is back?
If Minshew were starting, I would feel very good about this match-up, but Foles is a huge wild-card.