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Week 16 Colts’ QB Analysis: There is no Santa Claus.


Indianapolis Colts v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/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)


The Atlanta Falcons have the #1 rush defense in the league, so going into the game we knew that it was up to Gardner Minshew to deliver. He didn’t.

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

  • Against the stout Atlanta run defense, the Colts implemented a pass-first offense, which, despite the chirping from fans, was the right move, because predictably the run game was bad (8th edp, 25th arsr).
  • Minshew held the ball about as long as the average QB, but endured a much higher pressure rate. That points to poor O-line protection (11th ttt, 9th pr%).
  • He attempted long throws, so the minor extra time to throw was warranted, but unfortunately, his completion depth was just average, so the trade-off wasn’t worth it.
  • His depressed completion depth was a direct result of horrible accuracy (29th cpoe). Last week, I laid that at the feet of the receivers and while there were many catches this week that better receivers would have made, all of the “dropped” passes I saw were also off target.
  • That inaccuracy also explains why the receivers could not gain YAC (28th yac, 26th yacoe).
  • So, average completion depth plus below average YAC plus a completion rate almost 9 points below what it should have been results in really bad yardage efficiency (28th ypa).
  • Minshew could not avoid sacks this week and a lot of that is on the O-line, but he also did not try to throw the ball away and that is on him (3rd sck%, 25th ta%).
  • That inability to deal with pressure, dragged his yardage efficiency even lower when adding in all dropbacks (30th ny/d).
  • About the only bright spot was that he did convert a lot of first downs, so he was moving the ball OK, but the run game was bad and he didn’t throw any TDs, so those drives ended poorly (11th 1st%, tied 30th td%).
  • The interception didn’t help either, as he finished 27th in both EPA Efficiency and Passing Success Rate.

We needed “good Minshew’ and just got Minshew. On the season, he ranks 21st in EPA/d and 22nd on PSR, which is about where he has lived the entire season and also his entire career. This is just who he is.


The 1st quarter was a promising start, but then the rest of the game happened.

EPA-wise, the passing game is on a 4 game slide.


The start of the 2nd quarter was the start of the incompletions. There were 2 clusters of 0 for 6 attempts that basically doomed the offense.

Completion depth has bounced around, but the trend has been around league average.


When your Tight End is the leading receiver, that is usually bad news.

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


On the year, Minshew’s accuracy ranks 2nd worst and this week helps explain why.


He took longer to throw than the previous 4 weeks, but he had a much longer attempted depth as well, so that makes sense.

He throws it a little quicker than most QBs, when adjusted for distance. So, his processing time is good.


The deep ball was not working, but passes within 10 yards added a lot of value.

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