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Week 3: Colts Defense by the Numbers

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Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Jenna Watson/IndyStar via Imagn Content Services, LLC

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.

In week 3, on the drives where the Titans weren’t giving the ball away to the Colts defense, they were driving the field and scoring. 25 points may not seem like overly much, but on only 8 drives, that’s the 5th most points per drive of any team.

Without the turnovers, the damage would have been much worse. On the non-turnover drives, the Colts stopped Tennessee just once; the only time they did not see the Colts side of the field. They converted 83% of their series on the day with 24 first downs.


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%

Epa efficiency against includes the full impact of 3 turnovers and so the TEN offense only ranked 22nd in that measure, but they had the 10th highest first down conversion rate and 5th highest DSR. In other words, the Indianapolis defense was steam-rolled until Tennessee made critical mistakes.


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

Because of the 2 INTs, Tannehill’s epa efficiency was only about average. The picks don’t impact yardage efficiency, however, and in that he was 9th best (ny/d). He managed those numbers on mostly short passes (25th aDOT).


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

TEN committed to the run and accumulated the 5th most rushing yards (QB scrambles excluded), however, their efficiency wasn’t quite as as good: 13th yards per carry, 15th conversion rate, 11th ranked epa per carry.

Overall, adjusted for game situation, that was the 12th best adj Rushing Success Rate of the week. I actually expected TEN to do much better than that, so . . . yay?


Looking at the drive chart, it’s clear that Tennessee was driving down the field at will and were only stopped by themselves. Through week 3, the Colts have given up the 28th most points per drive — although against some good offenses. Football Outsiders ranks the defense 21st by DVOA. I think the truth is somewhere in between.

Miami, however, should be a get-well game for the Colts defense. Ranked 28th by DVOA and points per drive, the Miami offense is not good.

Jacoby Brissett ranks 31st in yardage efficiency and 28th in epa efficiency. He doesn’t turn the ball over (26th to%), but he also doesn’t move it down the field well (27th DSR, 30th conversion rate). He is . . . well, most of you already know who he is.

On the ground, the Dolphins aren’t much better. They rank 26th in DVOA and 25th by my adj RSR metric. They rank 27th in rushing 1st down conversions, so if ever we are to stop a ground attack, this would be the time.

I don’t foresee Miami scoring much, but then again I don’t foresee the Colts scoring much either. The Dolphins are 2 point favorites.