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Same As It Ever Was: The Colts Offense Can’t Get Points

Only Denver has scored fewer points per drive than the Colts.

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Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

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.

I’ve seen a lot of people comment that the offense looked different than previous games because they scored on the first drive. I guess technically, that is different, but averaging 10 yards on the next 6 drives sure seems familiar.

The offense, once again, struggled with only 14 first downs and a 58.3% Drive Success Rate. That inability to convert downs is something we have seen all year. This is not some new offense. To me, this is same ol’ same ol’.

Even with the week’s 4th best average starting field position, the Colts could only find the endzone once, settling for 4 field goal attempts. You rarely win games doing that.


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 21st ppd was driven by by the 25th-ranked conversion rate and the 22nd-ranked EPA per play. There’s no hidden silver lining here. The team just couldn’t move the ball.


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

Matt Ryan had the 21st-ranked epa efficiency to go with 24th-ranked success rate. This is pretty much on par with the season, where his -0.01 epa/d ranks 23rd.

Football Outsiders calls this the 2nd-worst passing offense in the league, and while I am not sure I agree with that exact ranking (HOU, CAR, WAS come to mind), the Colts are certainly very, very poor through the air.


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

Unfortunately, they haven’t been much better on the ground. Philly has a bad rush defense, but the Colts could not take advantage.

Jonathon Taylor’s explosive run lifts the ypc to 11th-best, but that is just a reminder why you can’t rely on ypc. Most of the other runs weren’t very productive and yielded only a 26th-ranked conversion rate. The fumble kept epa low (20th epa/c) and so, the overall adjusted success rate came in at 21st.

On the year, the Colts aRSR is 32nd, making them the worst rushing team in the league. Football Outsiders agrees with a 32nd ranked rush DVOA.


Here is what a terrible offense looks like, graphically. This is off the charts poor performance.

The next team that gets to toy with the Colts offense is the Pittsburgh Steelers. They carry a 14th DVOA rank, which while barely above average, is far, far better than the Colts offensive capabilities.

They are much better against the run (7th DVOA, 8th aRSR) than they are against the pass (18th DVOA, 29th epa/d). So, perhaps Ryan can take advantage of their tendency to give up passing yards and first downs (29th ny/d against, 27th 1st% against).