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Week 17 Colts Defensive Rankings and Analysis: Poor against the pass

On paper, the Colts should have shut down the Raiders offense, instead Indy let them hang around too long

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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, NFL.com, Football Outsiders, and the nflFastR project for being awesome sources of weekly data.


Make no mistake, the Las Vegas Raiders have a bad offense. Prior to the Colts game, the Raiders ranked 25th in Points per Drive, averaging 1.56. Against the Colts, they put up 2.22 PPD, which if that was a season average would rank 9th best.

Sure, 7 of those points came on a desperate final drive, where the Colts gladly traded points for time. However, on only 1 drive in this game did the Colts prevent the Raiders from entering Indy territory. Las Vegas racked up 26 first downs (10 more than the Colts) on a 78.8% Drive Success Rate that ranked 7th highest for the week.

I guess you could call this a bend-don’t-break defense, but to me it just looked like a defense that had trouble stopping a bad offense.


TEAM TOTALS

(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 20th ranked defensive PPD brings the Colts’ season total to 1.93 dropping them 1 spot to 19th. That matches their defensive DSR season ranking, so I feel confident calling them the 19th ranked defense.

Against the Raiders, they did not give up a lot of yards per play (9th fewest), but they couldn’t stop Las Vegas from moving the chains (22nd defensive 1st/ply). Add to that a 2nd week of no take-aways and you get a game that was a lot closer than it should have been.


PASS TOTALS

(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

Aidan O’Connell had his 3rd best game of the season (out of 9), with a +0.21 EPA per dropback. That brings the Colts’ opponent QBs to a season average of +0.02, which ranks 14th.

O’Connell’s yardage efficiency was not great (21st ny/d), but he was very good at throwing first downs (7th 1st/d). He wasn’t pressured much (21st), so he had plenty of time to make long throws (9th ttt, 7th adot). If his accuracy had been any good (22nd cpoe), the Colts would have been in real trouble.


RUSH TOTALS

(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 Raiders have a poor run game and the Colts defense took advantage of that giving up the 9th lowest Adj Rush Success Rate of the week with the 8th lowest YPC and 5th lowest conversion rate.

That is good enough a result to lift the Colts defense 3 spots to 22nd against the run (adj RSR).


CONCLUSION & LOOK AHEAD

On paper, the Colts should have shut down the Raiders offense, instead Indy let them hang around too long.

This Saturday, the Colts’ defense will face a Texans offense that ranks 17th in Points per Drive and 20th in Drive Success Rate.

C.J. Stroud is back under center and that is bad news for the Colts. He has the 9th best EPA per Dropback, with the 4th best Net yards per dropback and the 4th best conversion rate. He doesn’t turn the ball over (28th to%) and he has a high TD Rate (12th). One weakness however, is that he likes to hold the ball a long time inviting his own pressure, so he is susceptible to being sacked (9th sck%).

On the ground, Houston has one of the least successful run games. They are 28th in adj Rush Success Rate and 31st in conversion rate, so its surprising that they are a run-first offense on early downs (26th early down pass %).

Houston often leaves itself with long 3rd downs (4th longest ytg on 3rd), which they have trouble converting (19th 3rd conversion). Under pressure, Stroud ranks only 23rd in efficiency, so if our pass rush can get home in these situations, we have a chance of shutting them down.