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Week 6 Offensive Rankings and Analysis: Why can’t we have nice things?

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Indianapolis Colts v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Mike Carlson/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.

In week 5, the Colts’ executed a run-first offense that played only 7 drives and it was glorious. This past Sunday, they did the opposite, dropping back to pass 60 times on 13 drives and it was very much anti-glorious.

Certainly falling behind 4 scores lends itself to desperation passing, but the first 4 drives had a 17/5 pass-run ratio. It’s tough to be good in a 1-dimensional offense and the Colts were not. They had only 18 first downs on 29 series for a 62.1% Drive Success rate, 26th on the week. The 27.4 average yards per drive was 10th lowest.


(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%

4 turnovers and another 2 on downs is a good way to prevent scoring, so an 18th ranked points per drive is understandable. That leaves the season rank unchanged at 14th.

Third down conversion rate was poor at 18th even though the Colts had the 4th shortest yards to gain on 3rds. The overall conversion rate was even worse at 22nd. Basically, the team could not convert on 1st or 2nd, which led to a lot of short yardage 3rds, which they couldn’t convert either.

At least we won TOP!


(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

Turnovers kill EPA, so it’s actually kind of amazing that passing EPA efficiency didn’t rank worse than 22nd. It was bad enough, however, to drop the season average 2 spots to 15th.

Yardage efficiency wasn’t terrible at 18th (ny/d), but passing conversion rate ranked 25th. A lot of that was driven by poor accuracy (21st cpoe ).


(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,

Rushing, what little there was, found modest success. 17 carries yielded a touchdown and 4 first downs and a 75% 3rd down conversion rate. So, even though the yards per carry was an anemic 26th place, those yards carried relatively high value, resulting in a 15th ranked adj Rush Success Rate.

That actually moves the season total rank up 1 spot to 11th.


The Colts passing is not going to save the day. Rushing is our strength, but a limited passing offense makes the rushing game that much harder to execute. That was on display in this game and likely for the foreseeable future. The coaches have to figure out how to optimize Minshew and last Sunday was not it.

Week 7 brings the Cleveland Browns to Lucas Oil stadium. To say the Browns defense is good is an understatement. To say they are the best in the league is still an understatement.

This year, they have yielded the fewest points per drive in the NFL. Their opponents have earned a 51% Drive Success Rate, which is also the lowest in the NFL. They give up a jaw-dropping 3.8 yards per play, which is — say it with me — the lowest in the NFL. Defensive Total Yards, EPA per play, Play Success Rate, Conversion Rate: all lowest in the NFL. Kill me now.

Against the pass, they give up the lowest EPA per dropback to opposing QBs. They give up the lowest pass success rate too (31%!). They give up the lowest passing conversion rate, the lowest net yards per dropback, the lowest completion % and cpoe, the lowest passing yards per game. Need I go on, because I could.

At least against the run they are only <checks notes> oh, right, the best in the league. Their opponents earn the lowest adj Rush Success Rate and the lowest rushing conversion rate.

I don’t even know what to say.