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Week 17 Colts Offensive Rankings and Analysis: Balanced and Productive

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NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Normally, 16 total first downs is a bad number for a game, but when you only have 9 drives and two of them include 50+ yard plays, you don’t need a lot of first downs to get points.

Overall, the Colts offense was moving the ball well. A 72.7% Drive Success Rate is 10th best this week, but the clear improvement over the last few weeks is that on the failed drives, they did not end in catastrophic fashion (turnovers, untimely sacks, blocked punt, missed field goals etc.). Notice that the failed drives all started deep in Colts’ territory, which could have been disastrous, but merely ended with punts and the end of the first half.


(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%

2.56 PPD is a good bounce-back from last week and raises the season ranking of the offense to 15th.

The Colts were 7th in yards per play, but only 14th in conversion rate, This discrepancy is completely explained by explosive plays, which by their nature add more relative yards than relative first downs. This is also mirrored in the 8th ranked EPA per play, but only the 14th ranked success rate.


(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

Minshew had the 2nd highest EPA efficiency of any QB, but when viewing that at the team level, he gets leap-frogged by Philadelphia, whose production included a 17 yard completion by RB Kenneth Gainwell.

I would have bet a very large sum of money that Gardner Minshew would never have posted an EPA/d over +0.50 as a Colt, although he came close in week 5 against Ten (+0.42). Minshew achieved this ridiculously high EPA not only with the two 50+ yard completions, but also by minimizing mistakes (1 sack, 0 INTs) and keeping his completion rate high (14th cpoe).

On the year, the Colts move up 1 spot to the 17th best passing offense.


(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,

The run game was solid with a 9th ranked adj Rush Success rate. They were 9th in YPC and 11th in conversion rate with 5 explosive carries.

This effort was good enough to break a log-jam in season ratings and move the Colts up 4 spots to the 14th best rushing team.


I could quibble about uneven passing performance, but the result of this game was very good passing overall combined with very good rushing. You can’t ask much more from an offense.

The Colts end the regular season against a Houston Texans defense that ranks 16th in defensive Points per Drive and only 20th in Drive Success Rate.

Against the pass, they rank 21st in opponent EPA/d and 17th in defensive Success Rate. They give up the 7th most yards per dropback and the 6th most explosive passes per game.

They are much better, defensively, on the ground. They have the 12th best defensive adj Rush Succes Rate and give up only 2.8 yards per carry, which is the league’s lowest.

It will be hard to move the ball on the ground, but Minshew should find some success.