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Week 14 Colts offensive rankings and analysis: This one’s not on Gardner Minshew

The Colts left over six points on the field in Week 14 loss to Bengals

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NFL: DEC 10 Colts at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via 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 14, the Colts had only two 3-and-out drives, but with only 8 drives total, that is two too many. The offense racked up 19 first downs for a respectable 73.1% Drive Success Rate, but a missed field goal and a turnover kept 2 promising drives scoreless.

According to my Expected Offensive Points stat, the team left over six points on the field, not that it would have mattered.


(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%

That 0.78 Points per Drive is bad enough for a 24th rank (out of 30) and drops the Colts two spots on the season to the 18th ranked offense. They are officially “below average.”

Indy ranked 19th in yards per play, with only 43 yards off of explosive plays, but still managed the 8th best first down conversion rate. The problem was that they also committed 5 accepted offensive penalties and turned the ball over twice. If you keep moving backwards and giving the ball away, it makes finishing drives tough regardless of how many first downs you get.

The offense played a game that required no mistakes, but ended up making a lot.


(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

Gardner Minshew’s +0.02 EPA efficiency is not a great number, but most of the QBs this week were really bad, so he sneaks into 13th place. On the season, the Colts are clinging to 18th place in passing (+0.05 EPA/d).

Gardner had poor yardage efficiency (18th 5.4 ny/d) driven off of a completion rate that was almost 3 points below expected (-2.7% cpoe). However, he made completions at opportune times and kept the chains moving with the 10th best passing conversion rate (34.9%).

His overall passing success rate was 7th best on the week, driven by those first downs. Had he not been able to convert at such a high level, this would easily have been a shutout. I don’t think there was much more he could have done this week.


(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,

Simply put, the run game sucked. Volume was certainly low due to game script, but that is not what I am talking about. Coming into the game the Bengals defense gave up the 3rd highest yards per carry of any defense (4.2 ypc), but against that Swiss cheese, the Colts tallied only 2.2 ypc and a -0.27 epa per carry, both second worst.

By adj Rush Success Rate they were also 2nd worst (29th arsr) and that drops their season total to the 16th ranked rushing team.


Minshew’s ability to keep the ball moving was the only bright spot in a very dark game. The run game did nothing and game script made the team 1 dimensional early. They dropped back to pass on 71% of plays. That’s OK if Peyton Manning is your QB.

Who’s next, Steelers? The Pittsburgh defense gives up only 1.64 Points per Drive, which is the 9th lowest this year. They also limit opposing QBs to a 67.7% DSR (6th lowest). That doesn’t bode well.

They strangle opponent passing with the 11th lowest defensive EPA/d (-0.01). They give up about average yardage efficiency and rank 16th in sacks per game, but they force the 6th most INTs per game. That may actually be good news, because it means outside of turnovers they are vulnerable. They give up the 11th highest passing conversion rate. So I’m sayin’ there’s a chance.

They rank 12th against the run (36.1% arsr), which includes the 4th lowest rushing conversion rate. If that sounds like bad news, it is.