clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Colts’ defense yielded the most offensive points of any team this season vs. the Cowboys

The Colts defense yielded the most offensive points of any team so far this season.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/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.

I remember once watching Peyton Manning put up 51 points on Dallas and had thought at that time, that the Cowboys' defense had performed poorly. However, I was later corrected by fan comments that told me the issue wasn’t the defense, but that Tony Romo was a choker.

Also, I foolishly thought that the Broncos giving up only 10 points against the Ravens last Sunday was an example of a good defense, but of course, I found out later from fan comments that I was wrong and that Denver’s defense (who give up the 4th-fewest points per drive of any team) is actually quite soft and gave that game away. . . oh and Brandon McManus is a terrible kicker for missing a 63-yard field goal attempt.

My point is that I am nowhere near as wise as random people who comment on football blogs. I clearly have no idea what I am talking about, so you should take it with a giant grain of salt, when I say, that I think maybe, probably, it could be that the Colts giving up 7 touchdowns was bad defense. I can’t be sure until I read through enough comments, but to me, giving up 47 points just has the hint of being a lot.

23 first downs on 28 series is an 82.1% Drive Success Rate, which is a 12th-percentile defensive effort. But again, even though that sounds bad, it might not have been. You know . . . ‘cause numbers are not real or something.


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%

3.9 PPD is the 2nd-most given up in week 13, which obviously is bad, but the Colts’ offense continually turning the ball over and giving Dallas the 2nd-best starting field position sure didn’t help.

However, despite the field position, the Colts' defense still gave up the 8th-most yds/play, the 3rd-highest epa/play, and the 7th-highest conversion rate. So, they took lemons and turned them into . . . a terrible defense . . . now with lemon!


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 the Cowboys didn’t pass much, Dak Prescott had good efficiency. The Indy defense ranked 24th in epa/d against and 20th in PSR against. They did well at limiting yards (11th best ny/d against), but they gave up too many passing first downs (23rd 1st/d against). I think that is called a break-don’t-bend defense.

On the year the Colts’ defense is 10th best against the pass (epa/d against). DVOA says 13th. I say “whatever”.


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

Against the run, the Colts gave up a ridiculously high 6.5 yards per carry (30th ypc against) and a lot of first downs (23rd 1st/c against). That led to the 28th-ranked adj RSR against. Ooph.

On the year, the team has been slipping against the run and now comes in at 14th (aRSR against). DVOA says 15th and I say, why you gotta be that way, DVOA?


Overall, DVOA ranks the Colts defense 14th, and looking at the following graph, I don’t disagree. They are a bit above average in both phases, so sure, let’s call it 14th. That will usually win you a decent amount of games. That is unless your offense is, oh, I don’t know, THE 2ND-WORST OFFENSE IN THE LEAGUE!!!