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Week 9: Colts Offense by the Numbers

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NFL: New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

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.

The downside of analyzing an offense that has a 6 touchdown day is that there isn’t much to learn that the scoreboard doesn’t already show. Here’s what I found from the Colts 45 -30 victory over the Jets:

  • The Colts scored a lot of points per drive
  • They did so by getting a lot of first downs
  • They got first downs by gaining a lot of yards.

Don’t try to do this kind of advanced analysis at home.


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

The Colts had not only the highest points per drive of any team, but they also had the highest Drive Success Rate, expected points per drive, epa per play, yards per play, success rate, and conversion rate. The narrative is straightforward: the offense simply killed it.

On the year, the Colts have the 9th best points per drive and 7th best epa per play. Football Outsiders bumps the offense up 7 spots this week to 12th by DVOA.


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

Carson Wentz had the 5th best epa per drop-back and the highest success rate of any QB in week 9. That success was primarily driven by the ability to convert first downs through the air with a 51.5% conversion rate. This means 1 of every 2 Wentz passes was a first down or TD.

He also put up the 5th highest net yards per drop-back on the 8th longest pass attempts (9.0 adot) even though his completions were significantly shorter (15th ranked 5.1 ybc).


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

I have the Colts as the #3 rushing team for the week, which may seem low for a 245-yard effort. But when looking at it on a per run basis and adjusting for game situation, it was just shy of the Browns and Ravens.

On the year, I have the Colts rushing game ranked 10th, while Football Outsiders calls them 5th best by DVOA.


The Jets are arguably the worst defense in the league and the Colts did what good offenses should do against them. They moved the ball at will and scored a lot of points. Even accounting for the quality of the opponent, this was a solid offensive performance.

In week 10, the Jaguars come to Lucas Oil. Their defense is better than the Jets but not much so. DVOA has them 27th and I have them 22nd both by actual ppd as well as expected ppd.

Against the pass, they give up the 3rd most epa per play and DVOA agrees (32nd). The ground defense is more interesting. DVOA says they are the 8th best in the league and by yards per carry, that makes sense as their 3.4 ypc against mark is the 3rd smallest. However, I find that they give up a lot of successful plays, and adjusted for situation I rank them 22nd. So, they fail on critical plays, but don’t give up huge yardage.

Look for Wentz to have another big day and for Jonathan Taylor to have success, but maybe not the big explosive plays we have been getting used to. The Colts are favored by 10.5, which is the same early spread they had against the Jets.