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Week 3 Defensive Rankings and Analysis: The Colts defense moves up the ranks

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NFL: SEP 24 Colts at Ravens Photo by Randy Litzinger/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 3, Baltimore’s offense was held in check (almost as much as the Colts’ offense). The Colts kept Lamar Jackson from consistently driving his team down the field. Baltimore could only manage 20 first downs on 32 series for a 62.5% Drive Success rate (13th-lowest).

This inability to get first downs kept the Ravens out of the red zone on all but 2 drives and allowed only 2 other drives to enter field goal range . . . well unless you consider a 61-yard attempt as “in field goal range”.


(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 safety doesn’t count against the Colts' defense, so the defensive Points per Drive ends up at 1.13 and that is the 10th-lowest on the week. On the season, that moves them up one spot from 14th to 13th-best.

The defense also limited the Ravens to the 13th-lowest yards per play (5.1) and 10th-lowest EPA per play. The 2 turnovers move the Colts' defense up to a 6-way tie for 7th place in takeaways this season.


(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

The defense did a phenomenal job in limiting Lamar Jackson’s passing. He had the 7th worst EPA efficiency on the week and that effort moves the Colts' pass defense up from 16th to 11th-best.

Lamar had the 9th-worst conversion rate and the 12th-lowest yardage efficiency (ny/d). He did complete 71% of his passes, but they were on the 9th shortest pass attempts of any QB. That was likely driven by the Colts’ pressure, which yielded 4 sacks.


(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,

However, against the normally stout Colts run defense, the Ravens were able to move the ball reasonably well. They had the 3rd highest conversion rate and 11th-best YPC on the week. Most of the Ravens’ first downs came on the ground as did both of their TDs.

That ranks the Colts 26th in defensive adj Rush Success Rate and drops their season rank from 9th to 12th.


It was an overall great effort from the defense and without it, the game would have likely been a loss. Three games in, the defense is looking pretty good.

Up next is a tough Rams’ offense that ranks 9th-best in season Points per Drive, which is in line with their 7th-best EPA per play efficiency.

Matthew Stafford’s passing game is just “meh”, with the 16th-best EPA efficiency. However, Stafford gets good yardage (10th ny/d) and converts first downs (11th 1st%), it’s just that he’s not throwing TDs (31st td%) and he is turning the ball over too much (9th to%). This could be a good opportunity for the Colts’ defense to increase their takeaway totals.

On the ground, the Rams are much better, having the 5th-best adj Rush Success Rate this season. They don’t get a ton of yards, but they get a lot of rushing first downs and TDs. This could be a tough run matchup for the Colts, especially in those crucial need-a-stop moments.

The Colts are currently 1 point favorites.