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, NFL.com, Football Outsiders and the nflFastR project for being awesome sources of weekly data.
After hitting the snooze button 3 times, the Colts offense finally awoke and then rolled over the Bengals defense. The first 3 drives averaged 12 yards and 0 points while the following 7 averaged 53 yards and 4.4 points.
All key metrics this week are in the top 10, with 1st down conversions ranking all the way up to 2nd best (1st/ply = 39%). Conversions are a key get-well stat for the Colts as no offense is going to find success unless they can consistently move the chains. Prior to this game, the Colts ranked 22nd in conversion rate, but week 6 moved them up to an average 16th.
Here is a week by week breakout of conversion rate relative to other teams (Colts are the blue dots).
Weeks 3 (Jets) and 6 were games where the Colts moved the ball well, but the other games were problematic. This is a big reason why the Colts offense hasn’t been able to score.
But hey, at least we are winning season long time of possession (10th). If it wasn’t for our ability to burn time while not scoring, I would be worried.
This was easily Philip Rivers best day as a Colt. Most of the key stats rank him around 5th best on the week with the 3rd highest Net Yards per dropback (NY/db = 8.2).
On the year, the Colts passing game is 10th in first down conversion rate, so it appears the overall conversion meh-ness is not from Rivers arm, but let’s look at it by week.
Again, weeks 3 & 6 stand out as standouts. The other weeks show . . . let’s call it room for improvement.
When you are forced to pass all day and can only run for 59 yards it is hard to say that it was a good rushing day, but on average, it was. While 3.9 yards per carry was not ground-breaking (see what I did there), the value efficiency (9th EPA/c) and success rate (8th wRSR) was good.
5 first downs (1 TD) on 15 rushes is a conversion rate I will take any week, especially when compared to the Colts season so far.
Week 2 (Vikings) was the only other game where the Colts could convert first downs on the ground. I’m not sure what to say other than if this doesn’t improve, the offense will have trouble scoring.
CONCLUSION AND LOOK AHEAD
The offense played an outstanding game, primarily due to Rivers looking like . . . well, Rivers. On the year, the Colts offense ranks below average in almost every stat that matters: 22nd in points per drive, 22nd in Drive Success Rate, 22nd in play success rate. This was a much needed get well game against a less than average opponent defense. So, let’s ride this wave into . . . I guess the bye week?
When the Colts return in week 8, they will face the Detroit Lion defense. Football Outsiders currently ranks them 23rd and I concur, as they give up the 25th most points per drive and 25th most EPA per play.
FO thinks they are much stiffer against the pass (12th DVOA), but I don’t have them nearly that high (19th EPA/db against, 19th passing success rate against). Perhaps FO’s adjustment by opponent shows them in a better light.
Against the run, we agree that Detroit is vulnerable (30th DVOA, 28th weighted rush success rate, 30th EPA per carry). Look for Reich to try and establish the run game again.