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.
In week 10, even though the Colts were inside the opponent 20 on 4 separate drives, they could only find the end-zone once. Outside of those red-zone appearances, the offense averaged 4.6 yards per drive the rest of the day: not per play . . . 4.6 yards per drive!
Overall, the team converted 15 of 25 series for a 60% DSR, which places the effort in the 8th percentile of all offenses this year.
16 offensive points is actually 4.6 higher than expected (based on DSR and field position). This is why ppd ranks 15th but other supporting stats are much lower (24th DSR, 23rd conversion rate). Basically, as bad as you think the offense played, they actually played worse.
On the year, the team ranks 11th in points per drive, but only 16th in DSR. That gap is driven by the 9th best avg starting field position. In other words, favorable field position has made it easier to score off of an average ability to move the ball. The great field position has been partially due to opportunistic turnovers from the defense. If the turnovers start drying up, then the offense is going to have to work that much harder to get points.
Football Outsiders drops the Colts 5 spots this week to 17th. I think that is a little low, but I’m still angry about how poor they played, so I’ll let it stand.
Wentz’s -0.10 epa per play somehow manages to rank 18th, even though it is almost a full 20 points below 2021 league average. I guess everybody sucked this week.
His first down conversion rate landed at 24th along with a 26th ranked accuracy (cpoe). He had a decent completion rate but it was only for short passes (26th 3.5 ybc). The receivers couldn’t make up for the short passes with yac (15th) and so overall yardage was poor. With short yards comes few first downs. With few first downs comes few TDs.
On the year, the team passing efficiency ranks 18th to go along with a 20th DVOA measure.
The run game was efficient. 4.8 yards per carry comes in 8th right next to a 9th ranked epa/c. However, those stats can be heavily biased by game script and so I rely on an adjusted rush success rate which comes in at 8th. Okay, I guess those stats weren’t biased.
Jonathan Taylor continues to be the only consistent weapon in this offense. On the year, the Colts run game has the 9th best aRSR and the 5th best DVOA.
CONCLUSION & LOOK AHEAD
It was a poor offensive effort against a poor defense.
The opening two drives featured 7 passes and 10 rushes and yielded 10 points. Even though the team maintained a double-digit lead, the rest of the half featured a 15/6 pass-run split and earned only 3 more points.
At some point, this team needs to realize where their strength is and emphasize that. Otherwise, you let one of the worst teams in the league hang around and you have to rely on defensive scores to be the difference in game outcome.
Next week, the team travels to Buffalo to take on the #1 defense in the league. That league-best DVOA ranking is backed up by the least points per drive given up, the fewest yards allowed per play, the lowest DSR against, the lowest epa per play surrendered, the lowest conversion rate against . . . you know I could go on, but you get the point.
According to Football Outsiders, they are just as good against the pass as they are against the run (#1 pass DVOA, #3 run DVOA), and unfortunately, I don’t disagree (#1 epa per drop-back against, #2 aRSR against).
But there is hope!
The Bills defense gives up only 15 points a game on average, but if you dig deeper, five of those games were against bottom 10 offenses who averaged only 7.5 points (HOU, JAX, NYJ, and MIA x2). Against the 4 remaining opponents (WAS, KC, PIT, TEN), the Bills gave up 24.5 points per game. So, they can be scored upon.
If I remove HOU, JAX, MIA, and NYJ from the data, the Bills points per drive against rank falls to 14th. They were still very strong against the run (#2 aRSR), however, they fell to 10th in passing efficiency (epa/d against) and 18th in passing success rate against.
This means they are stout against the run and don’t give up the big pass plays, but they give up plenty of successful shorter passes. If Wentz can dink and dunk his way down the field, we could put up some points.
Current spread is the Bills by 7.