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 2, the Colts didn’t have much of a problem driving down the field, but getting into the end zone was a different story.
Prior to Jacob Eason entering the game, the average Colts drive ended on the 27.4 yard line. That would rank the 3rd closest to the end zone of any team, yet they could only manage a single TD all day. 10 points off of 4 red-zone trips is just unacceptable.
Drive Success Rate wasn’t bad (73.3%, 15th) but for the 2nd week in a row, the average series length was poor (11.1 yards, 28th). If your series length is short then it simply takes more of them to reach the end zone, making it that much harder.
The 23rd ranked PPD ignores the special teams score, illustrating how poor the offense was at putting points on the board. The 15th ranked DSR and 12th best 1st down conversion rate (1st/ply) shows that the team was able to move the ball, but 2 turnovers (3 if you count TO on downs) killed any efficiency on the day (24th epa/ply).
On the plus side, the team continues to have short yardage 3rd downs (4th shortest each week), which should lead to high 3rd down conversions: last week it didn’t (17th), this week it did (8th). The more cynical of you may say that short yardage 3rd downs are sometimes a symptom of not converting enough 1st or 2nd downs and to those voices in my head, I say “Shut up! you can’t make me write that”.
The epa efficiency includes Eason’s INT, but even excluding him, Wentz still only ranks 24th. Nothing here is good news, but nothing is really all that horrible either. If you exclude the failed 4th down sack and fluky INT, then the story (and scoreboard) looks brighter, but those are actual plays that really happened, so take from that what you will.
No surprise to anyone who watched, but the run game wasn’t good. 6 first downs, 0 TDs and 3.4 yards per carry is what we want to hold opponents to, but alas those are Colts’ numbers.
CONCLUSION & LOOK AHEAD
You’ll rarely hear this from me, but even though the bulk of the numbers are worse in week 2, this was a better offensive effort overall. Events that are unlikely to repeat (shovel pass, goal line failure, backup QB) led to depressed game level stats — OK, backup QB is a repeatable event. However, the offense was moving the ball better than week 1 and actually should have won this game.
After only 2 weeks, it is tough to say how good opponent defenses are, but the Titans have given up the 6th most points per drive and the 4th most epa per play. They have been poor against the pass, ranking 26th in epa per drop-back and giving up a lot of first downs (21st 1st/db) as well as the 3rd most explosive pass plays. Against the run, they have not fared much better, with a 24th ranked weighted success rate and a 26th epa per carry.
Of course, all that may be irrelevant, if we have a backup QB in his first NFL start.