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Week 12 Offensive Rankings and Analysis: Colts’ run game dominates

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers 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.

In the week 12 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Colts showed what a high functioning offense is comprised of:

  • The ability to pass and run
  • The ability to consistently move the chains
  • The ability to minimize negative plays

On the day, the Colts converted 26 series. That is their highest first down volume and their 2nd highest Drive Success Rate of the year (78.8%). In fact, out of 360 games so far this year, only 26 offenses had a higher first down count.

They made those conversions count too, as out of 4 trips to the red zone, they walked away with 3 TDs and a field goal.


(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 Colts 2.7 Points per Drive is the 5th best on the week and moves them up 1 spot to 15th best on the year.

They only managed the 15th best yards per play for week 12, but they made those yards in high value situations, which translated to a 3rd best play success rate (adj TSR) and the 5th best play conversion rate (1st/ply). In other words, they consistently moved the chains off of smaller high value plays.

They offense only went 2 for 11 on 3rd downs, but that was because they had the 3rd longest average yards to gain (8.6 yds), which, ironically, is a function of doing well at converting 2nd downs (being a bit short on 2nd down = short 3rd down yards to gain).


(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

After the conlcusion of the Monday Night game, Minshew finished 11th in EPA efficiency. That doesn’t move the needle on the team’s season ranking as they remain at 18th.

Minshew’s 5.5 net yards per dropback is not good yardage efficiency (20th ny/d), but he completed key 4th down passes that kept 2 touchdown drives alive, dramatically boosting his value per play.

He threw a bad pick and his overall accuracy was poor, but he minimized negative outcomes. He did alright.


(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,

Zack Moss and Jonathan Taylor combined to give the Colts the most successful run game of the week. Their ridiculous 63.6% adj Rushing Success rate lifted the season total 8 spots to 13th best in the league.

Colts’ rushing contributed 148 yards at a 3rd best 5.5 Yards per Carry. They earned 12 first downs, which ties for 3rd most by volume, but was #1 in conversion rate (44.4% 1st/c).

All of this came against a highly ranked Tampa Bay run defense (8th adj RSR against). Had the rushing not been so strong, this game could have had a very different outcome.


The Colts leaned on the passing game, which held up well and the run game excelled, making this one of the most overall effective offensive outings this team has had all year.

The Colts offense will next face the Tennessee Titans who give up the 6th most points per drive of any defense. They give up the 10th most explosive play yards and rank 31st in take-aways.

Against the pass, they yield the 3rd most EPA per dropback. They don’t get much pressure on the QB (27th pressure rate) and they give up the 12th highest first down conversion rate.

On the ground, the Titans are tough. They have the 5th best defensive adj Rush Success Rate and allow the 4th lowest conversion rate. They limit ooponants to 3.4 yards per carry and the 9th lowest EPA per carry.

Against one of the toughest run defenses in the league and without Taylor, the Colts will again have to lean on Minshew. The good news is that that match-up favors the Colts, but if they become 1 dimensional, that could be trouble.