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Week 1: Colts Offense by the Numbers

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Seattle Seahawks v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

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.


NOTE: ALL stats are prior to the Monday Night game.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you don’t have to look at stats to know that 16 points is a poor offensive performance. I mean, maybe if there were only 4 drives in the game, you could be happy with that, but that wasn’t the case here, as the Colts' 1.45 points per drive ranked 25th this week.

I absolutely love Drive Success Rate (DSR) as a stat, but in this case, it is lying to me. 76.7% is usually a very good number which suggest 2 things:

  1. the team got a lot of first downs, which they did
  2. the team scored a lot of points, which they didn’t

The disconnect here is that the average yards gained per set of downs was very low. A 13.6 yd avg series ranked 28th. This means that even though the team converted a lot of first downs, they required far more conversions to reach the end zone than almost every other team and they fell short a few times because of that.

That is why I created my “Expected Offensive Pts” stat, which includes DSR, series length, and starting field position to estimate the points that should have been scored given the quality of play. For the Colts, my 15.9 expected offensive points was pretty much on the money.


TEAM TOTALS

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

So, even though the team was able to get first downs (16th 1st down conversion, 12th DSR), they weren’t able to convert those into points due to low series length/value (23rd expected points, 23rd epa efficiency, 22nd Success Rate).

The good news is that that the average yards to gain on 3rd downs was the 4th shortest in the league (5.6 yards). The bad news is that that the average yards to gain on 3rd downs was the 4th shortest in the league (5.6 yards) and we only converted at the 16th best rate. 3rd down execution/play calling seems to be an issue.

There weren’t a lot of explosive plays, but there weren’t a lot of penalties either.


PASS TOTALS

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

For those that read my QB stats article, these numbers may deviate slightly as I include/exclude certain plays in my QB stats.

Wentz’s numbers were just plain bad. Now 1 or 2 people may have told me in the past that numbers don’t tell the whole story, but certainly, they must tell part of the story, right? The overall value of the passing game was below average (19th epa/d). That is a bit better than Wentz did last year but quite a bit short of good.

His first down conversion rate and net yardage efficiency also line up as being below average. His average pass length was short (27th aDOT) and his accuracy poor (20th cpoe), which is a bad combo.

There’s just not much good news in the passing stats and for those blaming the O-Line for Wentz’s woes, you’re not wrong but you’re also not right. One stat not shown above is his 5th longest time to throw, which always invites pressure.


RUSH TOTALS

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

The running game wasn’t any better, ranking 20th in my weighted rushing success rate. The ball carriers did manage the 7th highest conversion rate (29.6% 1st/c) but their yardage when doing so was not impressive. That take is backed up by a 25th ranked epa per carry, 20th ranked yards per carry, and only 1 run over 10 yards.


CONCLUSION

There is a lot to be unhappy about with this game, but with injuries and a QB having limited time with the players, it was expected. Quite frankly I thought the outcome was going to be worse so I guess that’s good(?).

As far as Wentz goes, the jury is out for me. Lots of people are buzzing about how “good” he looked given the circumstances. I didn’t see that.

Maybe next week.