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Week 13: Colts Defense by the Numbers

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NFL: Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-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.


A good Indianapolis Colts defensive performance against the Tennessee Titans in week 13 was hidden by the actual point totals.

The Titans only managed 15 first downs, which divided into 23 series is a 65.2% Drive Success Rate (DSR) and is far below league average. Forcing 5 drives without a first down, aided by 2 turnovers and 6 sacks is a good defensive effort. Unfortunately, offensive interceptions gifted the Titans 2 drives that started in Colts territory and they turned them into 10 points.


TEAM TOTALS

Mouseover for definitions: Adj PPD, PPG, Yds, P/R%, DSR, xOPPD, Strt Fld, EPA/ply, wTSR, 1st/ply, Pen 1st/ Yds, 3DC, 3rd ytg, Expl Plys, TO, TOP%
By points (adj PPD) the defense only ranked 18th, but in terms of limiting first downs (DSR, 1st/ply) they ranked 5th and 6th respectively. Per play efficiency and success ranked a little lower but still very good (11th EPA/ply, 10th wTSR).

The defense gave up just 1 first down on penalty and only 5 over the last 5 games. Not only are they playing well but they are playing disciplined.


PASS TOTALS

Mouseover definitions: EPA/db, wPSR Cmp, Att, Yds, TD, Int, Sk, Sk Y, Rtng, 1st/db, ANY/A, NY/A, YPA, Cmp %, aDOT, aYd/cmp, YAC, 20+ #/Yd
Ryan Tannehill notched a 131.3 passer rating, but his EPA/ply was his lowest of the season, ranking 5th worst of any QB this week. He came in 23rd in yardage efficiency (NY/A) and 23rd in ability to throw first downs (1st/db). If you learn nothing from me then at least know this: passer rating is a stat for posers.

This was good defense.


RUSH TOTALS

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

While their overall running efficiency wasn’t good (17th wRSR, 18th 1st/c), the Titans ran it so often that they managed a good volume of first downs and yards. 3 explosive rushes for 59 yards skews yards per carry to an ugly 5.1. Well ugly for us, not them.


CONCLUSION AND NEXT MATCH-UP

This was another solid effort by the defense that was undermined by the offense handing Tennessee favorable situations.

Next up is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On average their offense puts up a lot of points (9th Adj PPD), but their ability to move the ball is just about average (17th DSR) and all the other main stats agree (14th EPA/ply, 21st 1st/ply, 15th wTSR). Football Outsiders is even harsher giving them a team DVOA at 22nd. Teams that outscore their supporting stats like that usually regress, so here’s hoping that hand gets dealt this Sunday.

Passing-wise, Jameis Winston hasn’t been very good. By DVOA the Buc passing game ranks 20th and my numbers agree (18th EPA/ply, 15th wPSR, 24th 1st/db, 21st NY/A). He gets sacked a lot and throws a lot of interceptions, so what’s a defense not to like? Well, maybe the 3rd most explosive pass plays in the league. That smells like Bruce Arians.

Their run game doesn’t fare much better coming in at 21st DVOA. I rank them higher at 14th on the season in wRSR but only 24th ranked 1st/c. Basically they don’t rush for first downs but they manage to rush for TDs. I’m not exactly sure how that works, but there you go. The Colts defense hasn’t been great against the rush but they have been trending better (14th wRSR on the season, 2nd in last 5 games). This is a good chance to extend the trend.


SEASON TOTALS

Mouseover for definitions: Adj PPD, PPG, Yds, P/R%, DSR, xOPPD, Strt Fld, EPA/ply, wTSR, 1st/ply, 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/db, ANY/A, NY/A, YPA, Cmp %, aDOT, aYd/cmp, YAC, 20+ #/Yd
Mouseover definitions: wRSR, Yds, Car, TD, Fum Lost, RSR, 1st/c, 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/ply, 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/db, ANY/A, NY/A, YPA, Cmp %, aDOT, aYd/cmp, YAC, 20+ #/Yd
Mouseover definitions: wRSR, Yds, Car, TD, Fum Lost, RSR, 1st/c, YPC, 10+ #/Yd, 3rd, 3DC