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Week 13: Colts Offense by the Numbers

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Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/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 Season Stats. Thanks to Pro Football Reference,, Football Outsiders and the nflFastR project for being awesome sources of weekly data.

If you ignore the second half, that was a really good offensive effort, but 4 punts and a turnover on downs is not a good half.

Overall, a drive success rate of 78.1% is good. Had that 4th & 1 converted this drive chart likely looks a lot better.


Mouseover for definitions: Adj PPD, PPG, Yds, P/R%, DSR, xOPPD, Strt Fld, EPA/ply, adj TSR, 1st/ply, Pen 1st/ Yds, 3DC, 3rd ytg, Expl Plys, TO, TOP%

The weekly data doesn’t include the Tuesday night game so there are only 28 teams compared. Even so, 11th in points per drive is decent.

At the end of the day, points are all that matters, but the supporting data of 9th best DSR, 9th best EPA per play and 5th best first down conversion rate suggest that the team did better than what the score indicated.

It’s a similar story on the season. A 16th ranked points per drive is worse than than the 11th ranked DSR, 13th ranked EPA/play and 11th ranked first down conversion rate. That is partly why Football Outsiders (FO) has the Colts offense ranked 11th before adjusting for opponent. However, we have had a pretty easy schedule, so they drop us to 16th by DVOA.


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

It is out of the ordinary for Indianapolis’ Philip Rivers to get sacked so much, but despite the pressure, he had the 6th most efficient game of any QB. The 3 sacks depressed his yardage efficiency, but his 3rd best completion rate (7th best cpoe) made up some of the difference landing him at 12th in NY/db.

On the year, the Colts passing game is 7th most efficient by both EPA and yards (EPA/db, NY/db). FO says 10th best before opponent adjustment and all the way down to 19th when accounting for defenses faced. That’s a pretty big swing.


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

By my custom metric of adjusted rush success rate, no one was better than the Colts’ runners in week 13. By EPA and YPC, they were only 17th and 16th, but those measures are dramatically impacted by game script.

13 of 29 rushes added positive value and result in a 4th best RSR. Add in adjustments for win probability and weight for outcome (TD, first down, chunk yardage) and you get the most efficient run game of the week.

On the year, that drops to 10th best, which is nowhere near the 19th DVOA rank. I really don’t trust many rushing stats but over 25% of Colt’s rushes result in first downs which is 10th best of any team, so I tend to like my ranking on this.


Despite the inability to score in the second half, the offense moved the ball well on the day. 24 points is nothing to get excited about but if you have a decent defense — which we do — it should be enough to win the game — which we did.

Next up, Raaaaaaaiders. Las Vegas has given up 2.85 points per drive this year which is the 2nd most of any defense. They give up an average DSR of 79.5%, also 2nd highest. EPA per play? 2nd highest. I’m no math wizard but I think that means their defense is the 2nd worst in the league. They have had a hard offensive schedule so FO moves them up to 24th in defensive DVOA.

Through the air, they rank 24th in EPA per play against, 23rd in NY/db against and 26th in first down conversion rate given up. FO ranks them 23rd before opponent adjustment and 15th after. On the ground, I say 26th in defensive adj wRSR and 32nd in EPA per carry against. FO says 32nd in DVOA.

So, the match-up favors the run, but Rivers should still see success through the air. Vegas says Colts by 2.5.