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.
This drive chart screams “awesome field position”. I find it hard to believe that an average starting point of the 42.5 yard-line wasn’t the best in the league, but Arizona managed to start at their 48.6. Shorter fields make for better offenses and the Colts demonstrated that. This is the 4th time this year they have scored 31 points and the 2nd time against the Texans.
26 first downs off of 32 series is an 81.2% DSR, which is in the 83rd percentile of all offenses this year.
31 points equates to the 4th best points per drive. That was accomplished by drives with good starting field position (2nd) that steadily moved the chains (4th DSR, 1st first down conversion rate) by executing high value plays (4th epa/ply, 1st explosive plays).
There was a turnover, but that is about the only bad mark in a highly productive offensive day.
For the year, they stay at 4th best in points per drive, barely nudging out the Rams and holding an edge over last year’s Colts offense by a slim 0.08 ppd. Most of my stats have this offense hovering around 6th place, but since we have played some easy defenses, I’ll let Football Outsiders have the last word: Offensive DVOA 9th.
Passing EPA efficiency ranked 9th on the week, which is a little deceiving as that would place only 14th in a season rank. However, the rate of successful passes was a 4th best 54.2% (that would be #1 if it were a season number).
Net yardage was 9th highest (6.6 ny/d) and passing conversion rate was a bit lower but still above average (13th 1st/ply) and with no turnovers that makes for a solid passing game: good, but not great.
On the year, a 15th ranked epa/d sits precariously above a 20th ranked success rate, a 23rd ranked conversion rate and a 16th ranked avg net yardage. To me, that means the passing game is worse than average and DVOA agrees ranking the Colts 18th.
What’s that? A #1 rush ranking. Ho, hum.
It seems that every week, all I do is praise the run game and this week will be no exception. The #2 conversion rate, the #1 epa per carry and the #7 yards per carry all factor in to the #1 adjusted rush success rate on the week.
The game plan was to move the chains on the ground and Jonathan Taylor & co. delivered with 18 rushing first downs! That’s 63% more than the nearest team. Taylor did give up a rare fumble, but on the whole the Colts rushers simply owned the field.
On the year, I have the Colts baaaaarely behind KC in running prowess. DVOA has them #1.
CONCLUSION & LOOK AHEAD
Against bad defenses, good offenses dominate and that is what happened in this game. I really don’t have anything negative to say about this offensive performance. They did exactly what was expected and needed.
Even though next week is a bye, I will talk about the week 15 opponent, the New England Patriots. DVOA has them as the #2 defense in the league. They give up the fewest points per drive and the 3rd smallest DSR, so I think I agree with Football Outsiders.
Through the air, they are stout. They yield the 3rd smallest epa/d, the 6th lowest psr, the 4th lowest conversion rate and the 2nd least ny/d. That all coincides with a #2 defensive passing DVOA rank. Yikes. Wentz is going to be challenged.
On the ground, the news isn’t that much better. They are 5th in aRSR against and 7th in defensive rushing DVOA. This will be another uphill battle for the run game, but they have consistently come through before.