clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Week 3: Colts Offense by the Numbers

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

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

For the 3rd week in a row, the Colts offense was able to efficiently move the ball down the field. 21 first downs on 28 series is a 75% Drive Success Rate. If this was any other year, that would be considered a very good number, but in terms of 2020 offenses, that is just a bit above average.

We didn’t reach the red zone as often as previous games, but we went 2 for 2 once there.


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%

My table is sorted by points per drive, which results in a 19th place finish for the Colts. However, that is low relative to other measures like DSR (13th 75.0%), EPA per play (13th 0.06) and weighted Total Success Rate (15th 50.3%). So, I’m officially calling this the 14th best offense on the week. So let it be written.

Overall first down conversion rate was great (4th 37.0%), but third down conversions were horrible . . . again.


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

It’s hard to watch a QB like Lamar Jackson Patrick Mahomes and then try to evaluate Philip Rivers fairly, but that is why I’m here. Last Sunday, Rivers was highly efficient great.

In the first half he completed 10 of 12 passes, all of them for first downs (1 TD). On the day, 62% of his passes went for first downs which was easily the highest by any QB. He ended the day early with the league’s highest yardage efficiency (9.4 yds NY/db) and the 5th highest EPA efficiency (0.38 epa/db). His 67% Passing Success Rate was 2nd only to Mahomes.

His first half average depth of target was over 10 yards, but in the 3rd qtr, leading by 2 scores, the passing depth was more conservative and he ended with a 6.5 avg depth of target (5.7 team).


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

By standard metrics, the run game did not do so well, with a 28th ranked Rushing Success Rate (RSR) and a 24th ranked -0.20 EPA/carry. Fortunately, I eschew standard metrics for the run game. When valuing runs by game context with my weighted rushing success rate, the Colts finish 15th in wRSR.

It’s interesting that the standard success rate and weighted success rate are almost the same number (29.0%, 28.4%), but their rankings are dramatically different. That is because other teams numbers were de-valued by my weighting while the Colts numbers stayed flat.


It’s hard to evaluate a game when the offense stops trying 75% of the way in, but on the whole this was a good, but not great, offense. There was much to like from Rivers in the first half.

Next Sunday, the Colts will travel all the way to Chicago to play in front of no one. The Bears defense has given up the 6th fewest points per drive to opponents and most of my advanced measures agree with that rank (EPA/ply against 6th, DSR against 8th). Football Outsiders also agrees with a 6th ranked DVOA. So, this will be the toughest opponent the offense has faced yet.

Chicago is much better against the pass (DVOA 4th, EPA/db against 3rd) than they are against the run (DVOA 20th, wRSR against 18th), so look for another run-heavy game from Sirianni. Or maybe he switches it up. What do I know?