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Week 2: Colts Defense by the Numbers

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NFL: SEP 18 Colts at Jaguars Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via 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.

Jacksonville did not have many issues driving the ball against the Colts' defense in week 2. 21 first downs and a 75% DSR isn’t outstanding, but it’s a pretty good offensive performance, especially when you factor in that they let up on the gas after a 24 point lead, passing only three times on the last four drives.


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 Colts defense did not surrender a lot of explosive plays (3 for 84 yards), and they limited penalties (1 for 5 yds), which helped keep opponent yardage efficiency low (12th lowest yds/ply against).

However, they consistently gave up high-value plays (24th epa/ply against, 25th opponent success rate), which meant they couldn’t stop the Jags from moving the ball down the field (23rd opponent conversion rate, 22nd DSR against). And without any turnovers, that leads to opponent points (22nd points per drive against).


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

Trevor Lawrence had his way with the Colts defense. He put up the 2nd highest EPA per drop-back and the 3rd highest passing success rate. 46.7% of his drop-backs resulted in first downs (3rd best conversion rate), and he had the 4th highest yardage efficiency on the week.

Game script kept his volume low, but if this had been a close game, he would likely have also put up monster volume numbers. It’s only two weeks in, but my fears about the defense are starting to come true. They bend against the pass, and without turnovers, they have no real answers.


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

The Colts were pretty good against the run, limiting the Jacksonville rushers to the 5th lowest success rate, the 5th lowest conversion rate, and the 7th lowest epa per carry. I rank them 8th best on the week, albeit in a futile effort.


This defense needs to figure out how to defend the pass. If Trevor Lawrence has his way with this team, what in the world will Patrick Mahomes do?

Kansas City comes to Lucas Oil with the 2nd highest points per drive and 4th best drive success rate of any offense. They are ridiculously good, as evidenced by their 3rd best DVOA ranking. They have the highest play success rate of any team to go along with the #1 conversion rate. This is doom dressed as a football team.

Mahomes has the 2nd highest EPA efficiency and the highest success rate of any QB. He has the highest conversion rate and the 2nd best accuracy rate in the league. He doesn’t take sacks (32nd sack rate), he doesn’t turn the ball over (30th to%), and he throws TDs all day (2nd TD%). Basically, he is the unstoppable force.

The good news is the Chiefs’ rushing game isn’t nearly as good. I have them 15th in aRSR, and Football Outsiders has them 21st in DVOA. So, maybe they will just decide to run the ball all day.