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Week 2: Colts Offense by the Numbers

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Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

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.


Last week, I questioned if the poor play of the Colt’s defense was simply a result of Philip Rivers being good and this week I have to do the same for an offense that faced a fierce Tennessee Titans defense. The Indianapolis offense clearly took a step back from week 1, but I guess that was to be expected.

The offense wasn’t terrible but it struggled to move the ball as evidenced by a 70% Drive Success Rate, which is just about league average. And while the offense managed 3 touchdown drives, they also had 8 failed drives that could only average 12.5 yards apiece.

In week 1, the Tennessee defense shut down any semblance of a Cleveland Browns passing game and so it’s no surprise that for the 2nd week in a row, Colt’s coach Frank Reich relied heavily on a run game that earned the majority of plays (52%), yards (58%) and first downs (58%).

Overall, the Colts found it difficult to enter Titan territory, but when they did find themselves on the Tennessee side of the field they capitalized, going 3 for 3 in the red zone.


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 performance from week 2 is in the middle of the pack of all teams. The main stats all tell the same story: the Colts managed some first downs (15th ranked 1st%) and kind of moved the ball (13th ranked DSR) while putting up some points (14th ranked Adj PPD) in a somewhat efficient manner (16th ranked EPA/ply and 15th ranked wTSR).

Basically, the Indianapolis week 2 offense is a tale of one city: it wasn’t the best of drives, it wasn’t the worst of drives. Really, the only glaring outlier is the 2 turnovers (which is bad). Other than that, this is about as average as an offense can get. However, against a good defense that is encouraging.


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

Jacoby Brissett did not have a good game. I know a lot of people point to 3 passing TDs and a 95 passer rating as “proof” that he had a good outing, but it is just untrue. A QB’s job is to advance the ball down the field and Brissett did not do that. Of the 3 TD drives, 2 of them were primarily due to large gains that weren’t QB skill (46 yd PI, 55 yd run).

After week 1, I was afraid that his inability to get passing first downs and avoid sacks might come back to bite him and this week it did as demonstrated by his 26th ranked 1st% and 30th ranked NY/A with sacks and turnovers prematurely ending drives. This caused his per play efficiency (EPA/db ) to plummet, ranking 28th worst of any QB this week. That is a stark contrast to last week's 11th place.

Last week he got rid of the ball quickly ranking 3rd of all QBs in Time to Throw. This week he ranked 29th, holding on to the ball too long and inviting the pressure that some are giving him credit for escaping. His passing depth shortened to a 5.0 aDOT, which was the 30th shortest for the week. A short depth is fine as long as it is accounted for with a high completion rate, but that didn’t happen. Brissett’s 60% completion rate was far below the expected 67% for that average distance. Bottom line: he was indecisive, rushed and inaccurate.

These are all very similar to the numbers that he put up in 2017 and they simply aren’t good enough if he is going to be “the guy”. On the brighter side, he did throw 3 TDs against a very good defense and that is far from unimportant. Additionally, his percent of successful dropbacks (wPSR) ranked much higher at 13th, which suggests that a good amount of the overall ugliness is coming from just a few outlier plays (sacks and turnovers). If he can eliminate those errors, then he can elevate his play but in my opinion, his ceiling looks to just be about "average".

RUSH TOTALS

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

While the running game was not nearly as efficient as week 1, it was still the driving force behind the week 2 offense.

At the team level a 17th ranked wRSR isn't that impressive but that was led by Jordan Wilkins mark of 56% that included 2 of the team’s 3 explosive rushes, one of which set up the game winning TD. And while Marlon Mack didn’t put up many yards, he earned 5 of the 8 first downs from running backs.

So, while the efficiency numbers don’t jump of the page, the 5th most total yards (167) and 2nd most rushing first downs (11) of any team was enough to support an offense that was otherwise lagging.


CONCLUSION AND NEXT MATCH-UP

After 2 weeks, the Atlanta Falcons defense has an 18th ranked DSR and a 22nd ranked Adj PPD, making it seem that moving the ball and scoring on them shouldn’t be overly difficult, but that comes with a caveat. They have given up the 6th fewest scrimmage first downs per play (1st%), while also giving up the 6th most first downs by penalty. So moving the ball will be predicated an forcing them to play undisciplined.

They are about equally susceptible to the pass vs the run (18th EPA/db against and 19th wRSR against). Additionally, the Falcons have given their opponents the best starting field position of any team in the NFL, primarily due to 6 offensive turnovers (2nd most). So, perhaps the Colts defense can help the offense out a bit in that area.

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