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Week 17: Colts Defense by the Numbers

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NFL: DEC 29 Colts at Jaguars Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via 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, Football Outsiders and the nflSCrapR project for being awesome sources of weekly data.


I’m so ready to put this season behind me, so I’ll make this quick. The Indianapolis Colts defense was terrible against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 17.

An almost 80% Drive Success Rate is bad enough, but giving up 5 scores on the first 6 drives is something that is difficult to come back from.


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%

The Colts gave up a lot of points (30th Adj PPD against), a lot of yards and a lot of first downs (26th DSR, 29th 1st/ply).


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

They were bad against the pass making Gardner Minshew II look a lot better than he is. He put up the 8th best EPA per dropback of any QB on the week when his season long ranking is only 21st (worse than Jacoby Brissett!).


RUSH TOTALS

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

As I predicted, the Colts had success stopping the Jaguar run game, giving up only 5 first downs and 57 yards. The Jags had some of the worst efficiency of the week (4th lowest YPC, 5th lowest EPA per carry) and also poor success rates (6th lowest RSR, 9th lowest wRSR).

It’s not much consolation, but the Colts stopped the run . . . and lost the game. Chuck Pagano would be proud.


CONCLUSION

The Colts started the season 4-2, but the defense wasn’t much help ranking 26th in DVOA and 24th in points per drive against (Adj PPD). For the 6 games after that, though, the defense caught fire, surrendering fewer than 18 points a game and ranking top 10 in:

  • Points per drive against (Adj PPD 9th)
  • Total Yards against (7th)
  • DSR against (3rd)
  • EPA per play against (8th)
  • Success Rate against (wTSR 8th)
  • 1st down rate against (3rd)
  • Passing EPA per dropback against (10th)
  • Passing Success Rate against (6th)
  • Passing 1st down rate against (3rd)
  • Passing TD against (5th)
  • Rushing EPA per carry against (10th)
  • Rushing YPC against (10th)
  • Rushing 1st down rate against (2nd)
  • Rushing Success Rate against (3rd)
  • Rushing 3rd down conversion rate against (9th)

During that period of defensive excellence, the Colts went 2 - 4. **sigh**

The season was capped off with 4 opponents who averaged over 27 offensive points and 400+ yards a game. Combine that with a failing offense and you get a 1-3 record.

Consistent, they were not. That Jekyll and Hyde and Jekyll performance placed the Colts defense 19th by DVOA for 2019. Maybe it’s recency bias but that seems generous.


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