The Indianapolis Colts are 4-2 in the NFL. They’ve overcome two disappointing, but surprisingly close losses to jump back into first place in the AFC South.
The Colts are third in the AFC and will have a chance to jump into second with a win over the Bengals next Sunday.
At this point in the season, we have a pretty good idea of the makeup of every team in the league. Its clear what each team’s identity is and where their strengths lie.
Today, we look at all the stats that breakdown the Colts and see where they measure up with the rest of the NFL. We’ll look at the traditional stats as well as Football Outsiders DVOA and Pro Football Focus’ plus/minus grades.
Some might be surprised by Andrew Luck‘s jump in development, but we have been saying for a long time that he was poised for a big jump in production. He’s finally blended the volume play with a high level of efficiency.
Luck, and subsequently the Colts, now lead the league in passing yards. Through six games, Luck has nearly 2,000 yards and leads the NFL with 17 touchdown passes.
He has a 99.6 passer rating, just behind Russell Wilson (despite 120 more attempts, over 1,000 more yards, and twice as many touchdowns).
Luck is sixth in DVOA (which measures a player’s value per play) and third in DYAR (which measures total value). PFF has Luck fourth in the NFL with a +12.1 overall grade.
A lot of his success has to do with an offensive line that is actually blocking for him, even despite multiple lineup changes throughout the season. The are sixth in pass protection per FO.
The Colts rank 16th in rushing yards per game, but the reality isn’t all the stellar. Ahmad Bradshaw has been a revelation but Trent Richardson is getting more carries with less success. This is to protect Bradshaw who has a history of injuries.
PFF has them as polar opposites with Bradshaw a +2.8 and Richardson a -2.5 rushing the ball. Bradshaw ranks 12th in DYAR and is eighth in DVOA. Richardson, on the other hand, is 31st in both advanced stats. PFF also has Bradshaw as the top ranked running back in the NFL.
The area where the offense struggles most is run blocking. PFF rates the Colts at -14.1 in terms of run blocking. For a head coach who wants a power run game, the Colts rank 31st in power run success.
What is interesting is that A.Q. Shipley and Joe Reitz work out to be the two best run blockers. Both have been kept on the bench by the coaching staff when other players are healthy. Its interesting when Chuck Pagano talks about running the ball yet keeps both on the bench.
The Colts have a dangerous group of receivers, as evidenced by the team’s overall passing yardage. T.Y Hilton is fourth in the league in yards and is tied for fifth in receptions. He’s also second on PFF’s wide receiver list.
The defense hasn’t played nearly on the level of the offense, but it has been very good for the past four games. The most telling stat is the Colts on third down where opponents are converting a league low 29.7-percent of their attempts.
Football Outsiders has the Colts with the 25th DVOA in the league and are 11th against the pass but 31st when stopping the run. The traditional stats say they allow the 14th fewest passing yards and 11th rushing.
PFF has the Colts at -16.8 overall on defense. The run defense is mostly responsible with a -20.7 while the pass rush is improving and just -2.2. The pass coverage for this team has been quite good at +2.7, but Greg Toler, D’Qwell Jackson, and Josh McNary are dragging the team down.
What the Colts have been doing well is rushing the passer. Football Outsiders has them eighth overall where they’re producing sacks on seven percent of opponents drop backs. The Colts are tied for sixth in the NFL with 17 sacks so far this season.
The Colts are also tied for fourth with 12 takeaways this season. The Colts are also 16th in points allowed, with opponents scoring 22.7 per game.
While the defense has looked good for four weeks, and admittedly played fairly well at times during the first two games, it is still a issue for the Colts. Playing three of the last four against AFC South opponents is going to skew the traditionals stats. The defensive slugfest against the Ravens last week said an awful lot about Joe Flacco‘s ability as a passer (despite the beating he issued the Bucs this weekend).
The Colts may have some issues on defense, but they are still managing to play at a high level and remain competitive. If they get healthy, expect an improved defensive output from Indy.