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Week 3: Colts Defense by the Numbers

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Atlanta Falcons v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/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, the defense bailed out the Colts, holding the Tennessee Titans to just 17 points and saving a very losable game. This week, they nearly gave one away against the Atlanta Falcons.

Although the defense stopped the first 2 Atlanta drives, the Falcons still managed to get 5 first downs and 84 yards. After that, they racked up another 20 first downs on 4 drives that were a near perfect 95.2% DSR on those drives. I’m thinking that if Atlanta had gotten the ball last, Matt Ryan would have made the Colts defense pay one more time.

Look at all of the Atlanta penalties on that last drive. 4 times the Falcons were backed up on that drive, but the Indianapolis defense still could not hold, giving up 2 first downs of their own.

Bleeding 4 points per drive is a good way to quickly kill a game. We’re lucky Atlanta bled more.


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 only thing keeping the Colts defense from being dead last this week is the Colts offense putting Atlanta there. A 31st Adj PPD is bad, but a dead last per play efficiency (EPA/ply) and first down percentage given up (1st%) is worse.

This horrific performance puts the Colts defense near the bottom of the league in almost very stat I have (Adj PPD 27th, DSR 30th, EPA/ply 30th, wTSR 29th, 1st% 31st).

Oof.


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
Matt Ryan arguably had the best game of any QB last week. He was #1 not only in most of my passing stats (EPA/ply, wPSR , 1st%) but also by ESPN’s QBR and Football Outsiders DYAR.

The Colts allowed an 85.3% completion rate on the 14th longest average depth of target. Half of Atlanta’s passes were for first down conversions. Let that sink in. Basically, every other pass Matt Ryan threw was for a first down or touchdown. Ridiculous.

There’s just no good Indianapolis number in that table, so stop looking. I’m not going to dwell. You saw it. It was a train wreck.


RUSH TOTALS

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

If you like finishing just outside of the top half in rushing defense, then I’ve got good news.

Atlanta did not run a lot but they managed 6 first downs including 3 explosive carries for 64 yards. Outside of that though, the Colts defense didn’t give up much on the ground with 0 touchdowns and 6 runs of <= 0 yards.

All of that adds up to “meh”.


CONCLUSION AND NEXT MATCH-UP

After 3 weeks the defense has started to show its true colors and I think we are in trouble. We are bad against the pass (EPA/ply 25th) and worse against the rush (RSR 29th).

Next up is the Oakland Raider offense which ranks 22nd in point production (Adj PPD), but is pretty much league average in other production metrics (DSR 15th, EPA/ply 16th, wTSR 16th) . Their rushing game is more efficient than their passing but not by much (RSR 15th, EPA/ply 19th).

This should be an easier test for the defense than last week.


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