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Week 15 Colts’ QB Analysis: Solid effort


Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Thanks to the nflFastR project and NFL NextGen Stats for the timely sources of data.

For those of you new to this, I will publish key QB stats each week judging how well the Colts passing game performed. Yes, O-Line, receivers, and play-calling impact these numbers but they are primarily QB measures. I will probably modify the charts throughout the season. Commentary will be brief but feel free to let me know in the comments that stats aren’t everything. (click charts for larger view)


I have heard many sing the praises of Gardner Minshew’s week 15 performance, but what do the numbers say?

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

  • On early downs, the Colts leaned heavily on the pass game and he was supported by a highly successful run game (5th edp, 11th arsr).
  • Gardner faced a good amount of pressure, even though he got rid of the ball quickly (9th pr%, 25th ttt).
  • His average passing depth was . . . average, as was his completion depth (15th adot, 16th ay/c).
  • For the millionth week in a row, his completion rate was below expected given down and distance (21st cpoe). I normally call that poor accuracy, but there were so many dropped passes, that I cannot in good conscience blame Minshew.
  • The receivers delivered better than expected YAC (9th yacoe), which could be read as evidence that Minshew’s accuracy was not at issue. That YAC helped with an above average yards per attempt (13th ypa).
  • Pressure led to 3 sacks, but again, Minshew was throwing the ball quickly, so this was likely more an O-line issue rather than a Minshew issue (9th sck%).
  • Unfortunately, those sacks led to a -2.4 yards per abandoned play (14th aay) and that lowered his ypa down to a 16th ranked net yards per dropback.
  • In week 14, he was great at getting first downs, but this game he struggled to move the chains (28th 1st%). However, he made up for that with 3 TD passes and no picks (7th td%, tied 27th to%).

His overall epa efficiency ranks only 18th, but a dropped TD on 4th down, turned what would have been a highly positive EPA play into a large negative play. Again, not his fault, so take this EPA/d with a grain of salt. His passing success rate ranked 23rd and that is partially an issue of his inability to get first downs, but of course, dropped passes and insufficient protection depresses that number too.

All in all, I think he played well. I’m not as enthusiastic about his play as others, but I won’t squawk.


You can see that the largest negative play, by far, was the dropped TD that probably should have been about +1.9 EPA, but instead became -5.1. Add +7 EPA to his numbers and his 18th ranked EPA/d becomes 11th best.

The reason I am not singing his praises is that his yardage per dropback was just “meh” and his first down conversion rate was one of the worst in the league and the lowest he has had all year.


I really like the mix of depth of attempts. There were 3 passes over 20 yards and another 8 between 10-20 yards. The results of the deep passes weren’t good, but it still keeps defenses on their toes.

The mix of passing depths resulted in average overall depth, which is a tick up from last week. Same with completions.


Pittman and Pierce had the same number of targets but wildly different results. With Pittman out from the concussion, Montgomery stepped in.

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


CPOE stays below average for the 4th week in a row. Drops certainly played a part this week, but not for all of those weeks.


Minshew continues to make quick throws.


He found success all over the field.

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