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Week 5: Colts Offense by the Numbers

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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 Season Stats. Thanks to Pro Football Reference,, Football Outsiders and the nflFastR project for being awesome sources of weekly data.

Sometimes there are no words for how ineffectual an offense is, which is why I like numbers.

  • 7 net offensive points
  • 2 interceptions
  • 75% red zone failure rate
  • Negative EPA per play
  • 68 rushing yards

I think that paints an accurate picture.

If 5 of your drives are going to average only 14 yards, then you better make the other drives count. The Colts offense did not.


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%

NOTE: Stats don’t include the Buffalo-Tennessee game.

I’m sure you felt like the offense on Sunday was one of the worst performances of the week. so let me back up that feeling with the proof.

  • 3rd worst points per drive
  • 5th worst Drive Success Rate
  • 8th worst EPA per play
  • 9th worst first down conversion rate
  • 3rd most turnovers (tied)

There is nothing to specifically point to as a problem as it was all bad. I guess I will point out that the Colts faced the 5th shortest 3rd downs of any team and ranked 17th in converting them.


Mouseover definitions: EPA/db, PSR, wPSR, Cmp, Att, Yds, TD, Int, Sk, Sk Y, 1st/db, NY/A, Cmp %, aDOT, cpoe, YBC, YAC, 20+ #/Yd


Ironically, Rivers’ net yards per attempt ranked 8th highest on the week, but that stat doesn’t count turnovers, which is why EPA per dropback is a much better stat and in that he was 23rd of 26 QBs.

Games like this cannot happen again. In 2019, we had a strong run game to take up the slack in QB play. This year we do not and Rivers was brought in to elevate the game. There’s way less elevating than I was hoping for.


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

68 yards and 3.8 yards per carry is not overly impressive.

On the bright side, in terms of game situation, the run game was better than it looked. Half of the team carries resulted in positive value plays (TD, first down or chunk yardage). The run game earned the most EPA per carry of any team . . . yay.

Week over week, the Colts dialed back the 1st down runs from 77% to 36% and that helped with 3rd down yards to gain, even though the team could not convert them.


This game was not atypical of the Colts offense this year. On the season, the offense ranks 24th in points per drive. They can’t finish drives and settle for field goals instead of TD’s (29th red zone success). In the red zone, of 30 QBs with at least 10 trips, Philip Rivers ranks 27th in EPA/db.

I would like to say this game is a fluke or blame it on a tough defense, but it merely highlighted what has been there all along. The Colts offense can’t score.

The Bengals come to town next week with a 13th ranked defense according to Football Outsiders DVOA (weeks 1-4). That’s about the same place I put them (13th adj PPD, 11th DSR against).

They are a bit better against the pass than they are the run (15th EPA/db against, 19th RSR against) but we don’t seem to be very good at either so it probably doesn’t matter.