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.
I don’t know that I can call an offense that throws a pick-6, allows 5 sacks and a lost fumble a good offense. Instead, I’ll call the Indianapolis Colts offense against the Pittsburgh Steelers a productive offense.
22 first downs and a 75.9% Drive Success Rate is a strong showing. Only 2 of those first downs were from penalties, so it was hard earned. The Colts offense only had one 3-and-out drive and were in Pittsburgh territory on 8 of 10 drives (although excellent field position helped that out a lot).
The pick-6 completely throws a wrench in the numbers both for net points (ADj PPD 21st) and per play efficiency (EPA/ply 20th). However, the success rate numbers show that without that outlier play skewing the game totals, the offense was fairly effective (DSR 11th, wTSR 15th, 1st% 12th).
The third down conversion rate was down again. With an average of 10.3 yards to gain and a back-up QB, that is probably not surprising, but it is a trend that is very worrisome.
Brian Hoyer’s production was OK. Not great. Not terrible.
He threw 10 first downs on 30 dropbacks giving him a 1st% that almost exactly matches Jacoby Brissett’s season total and combined they ranked 14th on the week. Other than the pick-6, his EPA/db was actually pretty good (0.18), but the interception torpedoed his game numbers and sank the team total to 24th. Weighted Passing Success Rate prevents a single play from skewing the numbers and in that measure, he ranked 15th of all QBs (IND 11th).
Hoyer had a yardage efficiency issue last Sunday (25th NY/A) similar to Brissett, but for different reasons. Brissett’s low NY/A (20th on the season) is primarily driven by his short throws. Of all QBs with at least 50 throws this season, Jacoby ranks 35th in average air yards per completion (5.0 yards). Hoyer, on the other hand, averaged 6.5 air yards per completion which is the 11th longest on the week (12th on the season). What drove Hoyer’s low NY/A was taking 4 sacks for -31 yards, something that Brissett has managed to avoid for most of the season (12th ranked 4.8% sack rate).
The bottom line is that Hoyer’s production in the game was similar to Brissett’s on the season but the manner in which they achieved their numbers was very different.
The rushing game was again effective, providing 8 first downs, which is an 8th ranked 1st%. A 12th ranked EPA per carry and a 11th ranked weighted success rate agree that the run game contributed heavily to the offensive success.
CONCLUSION AND NEXT MATCH-UP
You never want to give the other team points, but you also don’t want to judge an overall performance by a single play. The pick-6 was devastating, but the overall offense overcame that and put the team in a position to potentially win a very hard road game. This was a successful offense.
Next up is the Miami Dolphins and on the season their defensive numbers have been horrible, ranking dead last in DVOA. However, they have been improving somewhat.
Over the last 5 games they have been better against the run than the pass (15th wRSR against, 23rd EPA/db against). They only manage 1.5 sacks per game on the season, so if Hoyer ends up starting, that could boost his play. They also give up some of the longest completions on the season (30th ranked 7.4 aYd/comp against), so if Brissett is the starter it is the perfect opportunity for him to show that he can stretch the field.