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.
This was the best Colts offensive performance of the year, even if it was not enough to garner a win. The Colts moved the ball down the field at will, entering scoring position on 8 of 10 drives, but only 5 of those drives yielded points.
Their 80.6% DSR was the 7th highest of the week and based on starting field position and average series yardage should have yielded 32.5 points, which is 7.5 points short of actual. Let me see . . . missed extra point, missed field goal, missed field goal . . . yep, that’s about right.
The 12th ranked points per drive belies the actual production on the field, which is captured in the aforementioned 7th ranked DSR, the most yards per play, the 2nd highest EPA per play, the 3rd highest first down conversion rate, and the 5th highest play success rate.
It hurts to see an offense play so well, only to be undermined by abysmal kicking. That’s not to cast 100% of the blame on an injured not-Rod. A red zone fumble and a failed 2 point conversion didn’t help matters either.
Regardless of the outcome, this was the offense Colts’ fans have been hoping for.
Wentz led the offense to the 5th highest epa efficiency, the 7th highest conversion rate and the 2nd most net yards per drop-back. They had the most successful explosive passing with 7 passes > 20 yards for 246 yards.
This was a highly elevated level of play from Wentz and far, far better than his first 4 games. For the first time, I am optimistic about his future as a Colt as he found receivers that he wasn’t finding before. This was the first game where he showed that he can be relied on to move the chains.
If this level of play is not a one-time fluke, then the Colts offensive future is bright.
The Colts needed the run game to be strong and it was as I rank them 8th best when adjusting for game situation. 40% of called running plays ended with a first down or TD. . . 40%!! They put up the 5th best epa per carry, the 7th best ypc, and the 3rd best explosive rush totals with 5 carries of >10 yards for 78 yards.
This is the 3rd week in a row that the run game has delivered. That is starting to be a trend.
CONCLUSION & LOOK AHEAD
While I am heart-broken over the loss, I feel the offense has turned a corner. Football Outsiders moved the offense up 6 spots to 20th. I have them 8th in expected points per drive over the last 2 weeks as opposed to 24th from the first 3 weeks. They are simply getting better both through the air and on the ground. As much as people want to bitch about Reich, his offense is moving in the right direction.
Next up is the Texans defense. They have given up the 4th most points per drive. They rank 25th in DSR against and 22nd in epa per play against and yards per play yielded. You would think that would make them a bad defense but by DVOA they rank an average 15th ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .
Against the pass, the Texans rank 21st in epa efficiency and 25th in net yardage, which is good news for Carson Wentz. On the ground Houston leaks like a sieve. They are 31st in adjusted success rating, they give up the 5th highest rushing conversion rate, and they yield the 6th most ypc and epa/c. Look for Taylor to have a big day.
The offense should be able to score a lot. The current line is Colts by 9.5 and the over/under is 42.5, which interpolates to Colts scoring 30.75. That sounds about right to me . . . well not the 0.75 part, but 30-ish.