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, NFL.com, Football Outsiders, and the nflFastR project for being awesome sources of weekly data.
One final loss to go with the 4th highest draft pick.
The Colts' defense gave up 25 points in a final effort against Houston. That came along with giving up a 69.2% Drive Success Rate which isn’t bad (60th percentile for defenses). However, unfortunately (or fortunately draft-wise), the Texans were given 3 points on a short field and the Colts D gave up a lot of explosive passes, which means Houston didn’t need a butt-load of first downs to score.
The Colts did manage 3 takeaways which ties for the most they got in any game. They finish the year 19th in takeaways compared to a 2nd place finish in 2021.
The 20th PPD is just a bit worse than the 18th-ranked DSR. Giving up 7 explosive plays for almost 200 yards will often cause that. By yards per play, the defense ranked 25th, but the takeaway TD improved on that EPA-wise, so they came in at 15th for epa/ply.
On the year, the defense gave up the 21st-ranked PPD to go along with the 18th-lowest DSR and the 13th-ranked EPA/play against. Normally, those numbers are much more in line with one another. Maybe, if I get a chance, I’ll dive into that to try and unpack it, but for now, let’s just say the defense finished somewhere in the middle of all of that. Football Outsiders thinks the Colts are the 14th-best defense by DVOA.
Davis Mills managed a +0.15 epa/d (8th-best) even though he turned the ball over twice (including a pick-6). His net yards per dropback was 4th-best on the week, while his conversion rate finished 7th. Basically, the Colts made one of the worst-performing QBs in the league look great.
The passing defense had an up-and-down year but ultimately finished 19th in epa/d against. Football Outsiders ranks them at 18th (DVOA), so we are on the same page there.
The run defense stepped up, albeit against one of the worst rushing offenses. Still, the Colts held Houston to the 5th-lowest YPC and the 4th-lowest conversion rate. A fumble recovery made defensive EPA efficiency even better coming in at 3rd-best. When adjustments are added in, that comes to the 5th-best rushing defense of the week (aRSR).
For the season, what started out as one of the best rush defenses, fell off as the weeks went by and finished 16th in aRSR. Football Outsiders completely agrees with a 16th DVOA ranking.
CONCLUSION & LOOK AHEAD
When I graph out the pass and rush metrics relative to other teams, it’s pretty clear that the Colts' 2022 defense was right about average sitting almost in the cross-hairs of mediocrity. If only the offense hadn’t been the absolute worst.