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Week 12: Colts Offense by the Numbers

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NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-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.

It took a while for the offense to get going, but once it did, it moved the ball well. 24 first downs on 32 series is a 75% DSR, which is a 60th percentile effort.

Unfortunately, once the offense picked up, so did the turnovers. People have complained that the team only scored 7 points in the 2nd half, but only 1 second-half drive stalled from a lack of production. The offense was working, they just couldn’t maintain possession of the ball.


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 8th best points per drive were induced by the 10th ranked DSR, the 5th best first down conversion rate and the 7th highest yards per play. None of those stats however include the full impact of turnovers, which is why epa per play drops all the way to 15th.

On the year, the Colts have the 4th best points per drive. Many of the supporting stats don’t do quite as well (9th DSR, 9th epa/ply). The gap in those numbers is because the offense has enjoyed the 6th best starting field position making it that much easier to score. Thank you, defensive takeaways.

Football Outsiders ranks the Colts offense 9th by DVOA and 8th by weighted DVOA. I think they are actually a little bit better than that, but I won’t squawk.


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

Because of the 4 turnovers on passing plays, epa efficiency tanked (19th epa/ply). Other supporting numbers showed more promise, like the 14th success rate, 15th net yardage efficiency and 14th first down conversion rate. Basically, the passing game was above average . . . well, except for Pascal’s fumble . . . and the strip-sack . . . and the first INT.

On the year, the Colts passing is 15th in epa per drop-back but much worse in other stats:

  • 20th passing success rate
  • 24th first down conversion rate
  • 18th net yards per drop-back

This discrepancy is due primarily to timely successful plays and DPIs which basically makes the total value greater than the sum of the parts.

The offense ranks 18th in passing DVOA and that sounds about right to me.


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

Although sparingly used, the run game was once again highly efficient, ranking 3rd in adjusted rush success rate. That was propped up by the 7th best ypc, the 4th best epa/c, and the 2nd best conversion rate.

On the year, I also have the run game ranked 3rd. That, however, is not adjusted for opponent, which is why I look at DVOA, where the Colts are the #1 rushing team in the league. No argument here.


I have read a lot of comments throwing shade at Reich or the refs or <fill in convenient scapegoat here>. However, all of that (if even relevant) is secondary noise. This was a good offense that sabotaged themselves with turnovers. They moved the ball well and put up 31 points. They just couldn’t hold on to the ball.

Next up is the Houston Texans. Football Outsiders ranks their defense as the 8th best in the league and frankly, I don’t get it. I mean I reeeeeealy don’t get it. The Texans give up 26.5 points per game (6th highest) and the 6th most points per drive. They’ve given up the 5th highest DSR. They rank 23rd in both epa/ply against and yards per play against and they rank 31st in preventing opponent success rate.

Evidently, other than all of the yards, points, and valuable plays that they let opponents have, they are really good. Actually, I am only half kidding here. The reason they are so high in DVOA is that they rank 5th in take-aways and this season has shown me that DVOA is far too sensitive to take-aways. So I have zero faith that this is a top 10 defense.

Most of those takeaways are interceptions (5th most) and so Football Outsiders says to fear their pass defense (6th DVOA). I say, have no fear. They rank 16th in epa per drop-back against which already includes the full impact of interceptions. The Texans also give up the 5th highest passing success rate and 9th highest yardage efficiency. So, if Wentz is careful with the ball, he should have a good day.

One thing that Football Outsiders and I agree on is that the Houston run defense is no bueno. Here’s an advanced formula for you:

  • 25th in DVOA + 30th in adj rsr = many yards/firsts/TDs for Jonathan Taylor

Week 13 should be a much easier game for the offense. There, I jinxed it.

Colts by 9 as of this writing.