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Week 7: Colts Defense by the Numbers

At least someone showed up

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Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Each week during the season, I will be walking through the data from the previous Colts game and 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’s often hard to extract any good news from a loss, but in Week 7, the Colts defense kept the Titans out of the end zone. Unfortunately, the Colts offense did not.

The Titans offense actually had fewer first downs than the Colts and ended with a pretty pathetic 66.7% Drive Success Rate. Credit the Colts defense for limiting Tennessee to just the 3rd lowest total yards on the week and only 12 points, which in any normal world translates to a win.


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 defense tied for the 7th fewest points per drive given up on the 10th lowest DSR against. They did an outstanding job of limiting yards and thus first down conversions (3rd yds/ply against, 3rd 1st% against).

The only reason the team was in the game at all was due to the outstanding efforts of the defense.


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

Even though Tannehill barely passed (4th lowest pass/rush ratio), he was able to get the 10th best epa efficiency. Coming into the game the Colts pass defense was tied for 16th in epa/d against, so this is in line with how they have played most of the year (16th DVOA).


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

The defense returned to being stingy against the run. Henry got his 100 yard game but the Titans only managed the 16th ranked ypc and 17th best epa/c. In addition, they weren’t able to convert those runs into first downs very well, finishing 18th in conversion rate.

After adjusting for situation, the Colts had the 4th best run defense to go along with a season long 10th ranked aRSR (8th DVOA).


The defense was a bright spot in an infinite tunnel of darkness. I’m guessing Sam Ehlinger is going to need all the help he can get, so let’s hope this effort continues.

Here are the season defense numbers for each team (it’s defense so the lower left quadrant is good).

In week 8, the Washington Commanders travel to Lucas Oil. By DVOA, their offense ranks 27th, which is in line with their 28th ranked ppd against. They are one of the few offenses arguably worse than the Colts.

The Commanders have earned the 29th lowest passing epa per drop-back to go with the 28th worst passing success rate. DVOA ranks them 29th, so we are all in agreement. Taylor Heinicke didn’t do much in week 7 to make me think those numbers should be altered any.

On the ground, they are just as bad, ranking 26th in aRSR and 29th in rushing DVOA.