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.
31 points may seem like a very good offensive performance, but let’s peel back the onion a bit. First of all, Wentz handed the Titans 7 points, so it’s really only 24 net points that the offense contributed. Secondly, another 7 points were gifted to the offense by a Kenny Moore interception downed at the 7-yard line. And lastly, 14 points came off of 83 yards worth of pass interference calls.
That leaves 1 TD drive and 1 FG drive that were the direct result of playing well. I don’t care what the scoreboard says, that’s not impressive.
The offense managed a 75% Drive Success Rate, but over 1⁄4 of those successful conversions were from penalties.
The 14th ranked PPD includes the impact of Wentz’s pick-6, so it is in line with the 13th DSR and 14th expected points (xOPPD), but it still over-rates the offensive performance. Because so much of the “offense” was predicated on yards & conversions from penalties, the actual scrimmage measures like the 26th ranked yards per play or the 27th ranked epa per play are a truer representation of the team’s inability to execute plays.
The 24th epa per drop-back is fully deserved. The 2 picks were 100% on Wentz and even if you were to discount those, he was only able to put up a 19th ranked 5.8 net yard average which directly led to his inability to convert downs (29th 1st%).
He attempted the longest passes of any QB this week (10.7 adot), but the ones he actually completed only ranked 21st in passing depth (24th 4.1 ybc). For everyone that was so hyped up on the arm strength improvement of Wentz over Rivers, you actually have to complete those passes for it to have any value. I’ll take short completions over long incompletions any day.
For what seems like the eleventy-th week in a row, the run game was strongly efficient and produced results. Thank god, we used it sparingly.
The Colts had the #1 run conversion rate of any team at 47.4%. Basically, 1 out of 2 runs resulted in a first down. 4.1 yards per carry isn’t earth-shattering but that is heavily biased by the situation, which is why the 4th best epa per carry better describes the effort.
Even EPA can be biased for rushing when a team is trying to burn the clock, but that wasn’t the case in this game and so the 3rd highest adjusted success rate aligns with it.
CONCLUSION & LOOK AHEAD
This was disappointing on so many levels. The Colts' offense now ranks 19th in DVOA and 17th in actual points per drive. However, I think they are a bit better than that. They are 13th in expected points per drive, 13th in DSR, and 14th in conversion rate. The run game is strong but under-utilized. The passing game is . . . well, it’s a work in progress. It’s worse than last year but better than the year before that.
This week is a quick turn-around with what should be a get-well game on Thursday against the 28th ranked (DVOA) New York Jets. They have given up the 4th most points per drive and the 7th highest epa per play so there is no reason why the Colts should have any difficulty scoring . . . well, except any given Sunday . . . Thursday.
Opposing QBs, rack up the 6th most epa per drop-back against the Jets, which coincides with their 27th ranked defensive passing DVOA. On the ground, they are 31st in adjusted success rate against, but DVOA likes them a bit better ranking them 23rd. Either way, it is a dream match-up for Jonathan Taylor.
The early lines have Colts by 10.5.