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Week 3: Colts Offense by the Numbers

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Kansas City Chiefs v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Michael Hickey/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.

A 70.4% Drive Success Rate is nothing to get excited about. In fact, given the Colt’s starting field position and avg series length, that translates to only 16.7 expected points. You’re not going to win many games in the NFL scoring 17 points.

Fortunately, the Colts exceeded their expected point total, primarily due to KC special teams essentially gifting the Colts 7 points.

Ignoring the muffed punt, it took the Colts 5 drives before they started to move the ball. They can’t continue to be that slow to start and expect to 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%

While the outcome of 2.0 ppd was about league average for the week, the manner in which that was achieved was not impressive at all. The team finished 30th in total yards, 30th in yards per play and 26th in first down conversion rate.

The average series for the Colts measured 9.6 yards, which is the 2nd lowest for the week. This is not an anomaly either, as on the year, they rank 28th. They simply have to get more average yardage to successfully 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

Ryan has yet to look consistently good for a whole game. This week, his 22nd ranked epa efficiency was driven by the 23rd ranked pass conversion rate and the 31st ranked net yardage efficiency. That’s simply unacceptable.

On the year, Ryan has primarily thrown short passes (30th adot) that get little yac (23rd). As I previously wrote in this week’s QB stats article, there is sufficient evidence that poor O-line and receiver play are a drag on the passing game, but a good QB will make others around him better and so far Ryan has not done that.


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

The rushing game was absent for the most part. Held to less than 3 yards per carry (25th), they were 24th in conversion rate and limited to 1 explosive rush, which was only 13 yards. I have them ranked 22nd in adjusted RSR.


Even though it was an exciting finish and a win, this was a poor offensive effort. On the year the team is 31st in points per drive. This offense needs to be born again.

Next week, the Colts face the Titan’s defense, which according to Football Outsiders ranks 26th in DVOA. My numbers agree, as the Titans aren’t very good at stopping teams from moving the ball and scoring (27th DSR against, 26th ppd against).

Tennessee has given up the 7th most epa per drop-back and the 9th highest yardage efficiency to opposing QBs (26th epa/d against, 24th ny/d against). They are also 26th in DVOA, so there is broad agreement that their passing defense sucks.

Against the run, they are a little bit better, coming in at 20th in run defense DVOA and 19th in adj. Rush Success Rate. Despite the improvement over the pass defense, this is still a run-friendly defense.

This could easily be a get-well game for both Matt Ryan and Jonathan Taylor. The Colts are favored by 3-1/2 .