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Week 5 Offensive Rankings and Analysis: Movin’ on up

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NFL: Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts Bob Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Against a favored Titans team, the Colts offense slowed the game down in a run-heavy display of glorious strategy and execution. The offense led only 7 drives and all but one of those entered scoring position.

They amassed 21 first downs on 26 series for a Drive Success Rate of 80.8%, their highest of the year and the 5th best of the week (tied). The Colts had zero 3 & outs and averaged 61.1 yards per drive, the highest number of any offense in week 5.

As a sidenote, this is a great example of the difference between “slowing down the game” and “controlling the clock”. No offense can control the clock because no matter how fast or slow you play, the rules state that you have to give the ball over to the other team when your drive is done and your offense has no say in their tempo.

That is why even though the Colts ran on 56% of their plays, they only amassed 1 minute more Time of Possession than an even split. If that is controlling the clock, then they suck at it.


(Use the right-left arrows to toggle between stats for the week and the season).

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 team earned 3.29 Points per Drive, which is the 5th best of the 28 teams that played in week 5. On the season, that bumps the Colts up 4 spots to 14th.

With a starting field position that ranked 14th, the offense earned 7 yards per play (4th best) and a 2nd best third down conversion rate. They did not turn the ball over and they had the 4th most explosive yards.

It’s tough to find anything not to like about that performance. I guess the turnover on downs near the goal line was bad, but in my opinion, the refs blew the spot on 3rd down and it should never have been 4th down to begin with.


(Use the right-left arrows to toggle between stats for the week and the season).

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

The passing was ridiculously good, with the 2nd best team EPA per dropback. The season EPA/d for Richardson/Minshew is only 14th, but that is up 5 spots from last week’s ranking.

Yardage efficiency came in 6th best (8.5 ny/d) and first down conversion rate was #1 (46.7% 1st/d).

The 76.9% completion rate came in 2nd best, but you can’t trust that because that doesn’t account for situational variables like down and distance. When you account for those variables using cpoe, that rank drops all the way to . . . 2nd! See, I told you you can trust completion rate. Seriously though, on the 8th longest attempts, that is pretty impressive accuracy.

The QBs mostly avoided sacks and just kept the chains moving. It was a brilliant display.


(Use the right-left arrows to toggle between stats for the week and the season).

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

On the ground, the Colts were a seemingly unstoppable force. They scored 2 TDs, while putting up the 4th best yards per carry and the 3rd most explosive yards.

In terms of successful play %, the rankings aren’t quite as good, but they still managed the 8th best adj Rush Success Rate, which on the season, moves them up from 15th place to 12th.

The bulk of the offense happened on the ground, so it was critical that Zack Moss and Co. execute and boy did they!


It was just a fantastic effort, one of the most satisfying performances that I have seen from a Colt’s team in a long time.

Week 6 is the 4th divisional game of the year as the Colts travel to Duval County to take on the Jaguars. Jacksonville has a pretty stout defense, ranking 9th in defensive Points per Drive and giving up the 7th lowest Drive Success Rate to opponents.

Against the pass, however, they fall about in the middle of all defenses (16th EPA/d against). They don’t bring much pressure (28th) and they don’t register a lot of sacks (27th). They give up a lot of yards (28th defensive ny/d), but they manage to limit first downs (9th lowest 1st% against) and they have been pretty good at forcing turnovers (9th to%). If Minshew isn’t pressured, then I see him doing well.

Against the rush, the Jags have the 10th best defensive adj Rush Success Rate. They allow the 5th lowest yards per carry and the 11th lowest conversion rate. This will be a true test for the Colts RBs.

Colts are 4 point ‘dogs.