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.
The San Francisco weather caused havoc with the Colts offense in week 7. In any given week, I would describe a team that converts only 65% of their series as bad, but I have to give them a break here. And 30 points is clearly a positive outcome, even if 2/3 of those points came off short drives gifted by the defense.
The 14th best points per drive misrepresents the actual play behind those numbers. The Colts could not move the chains (21st DSR, 23rd 1st/ply), they had below average efficiency (18th epa/ply) and below average success rate (18th adj TDR) off of below average yardage (17th yds/ply).
They also had 2 turnovers but were able to get 97 yards off of penalties. Clearly, the weather drove a lot of that performance, but the raw numbers themselves are not good.
147 net passing yards is not impressive, but if I include the PI calls in passing drop-backs, Wentz’s efficiency numbers look really good (8th epa/d, 6th ny/c). Without the PI calls, passing efficiency drops to about average (0.16 epa/d, 5.8 ny/d).
His passing success rate ranked 22nd of 26 QBs as 2⁄3 of his drop-backs were negative value plays. This is reinforced by the 18th ranked pass conversion rate. So the PI calls, which were big epa plays really lifted his overall performance.
The run game once again was solid, ranking 4th in adjusted success rate. That brings the season success rank to 6th with the 4th highest ypc and 4th highest epa/c.
Football Outsiders would have you believe that the Colts run game only ranks 19th by DVOA, but clearly, they are smoking the same crack that has caused ESPN to rank Jacoby Brissett higher than Dak Prescott by QBR this year.
CONCLUSION & LOOK AHEAD
I’m not sure what there is to learn from a weather game like this, but it sure is nice to see the offense on a roll. Over the last 4 games, they are 10th in points per drive, 5th in epa per play, 5th in passing epa per drop-back, and 3rd in adjusted rushing success rate. That has come against some easier defenses, though, so grain o’ salt.
Next up is the Tennessee Titans defense who stood firm against a hobbled Carson Wentz in week 3. Overall, the Titans' defense is 22nd in DVOA, which is in line with their 20th epa per play given up. They look a bit better by points (17th ppd) and ability to stop teams from moving the chains (16th DSR against, 15th 1st/ply).
Against the pass, the Titans rank 18th in DVOA and 15th in epa/d against. They are 19th in net yardage against but 9th in preventing 1st downs (1st/drop-back). This implies they give up the big play and indeed on passes >20 yards, they have given up the most epa/a of any defense. So look for Wentz to continue his downfield attack.
On the ground, the Titans are not nearly as good, ranking 25th in DVOA and 22nd in adjusted rush success rate. This match-up strongly favors the Colts.
I think this will be a very different offensive performance from week 3 because, quite frankly, this is a very different offense. No-ankle Wentz had the 4th shortest pass attempts in week 3, but since then, healthy Wentz has had the 12th longest attempts. Last time, the game script relegated an efficient run game to the back burner. I don’t think that happens this time.
The Colts have averaged 28 points per game since week 3 and I don’t see that changing against TEN.