Extending the Metaphor

(Note:  Sorry for the posting problems earlier)

Yesterday, a reader felt my comparison between the 2005 Steelers and 2009 Ravens was incomplete because I didn’t balance it with a comparison between the 2005 and 2009 Colts.

Before we look at the statistics, there are a couple of caveats:

1.  The 2005 Colts entered the postseason reeling emotionally. The 2009 Colts don’t.

2.  The 2005 Colts rested far more than the 2009 Colts, but the 2009 Colts played far worse when they did rest.  That means the 2005 team was deeper, but also that the stats from 2009 are more skewed than the 2005 team’s numbers.

3. The 2009 Colts were much worse at #2 quarterback than the 2005 Colts.  That will skew the numbers a lot.  Sorgi played very well as the backup, completing 68.9% of his passes, leading 3 TD drives and posting a rating of 99.4.  Painter…um…wore a helmet.  For that reason, I’ll only use Manning’s stats for the passing totals, not the overall team stats. Still, it does suppress the yards per game and over all DVOA numbers.

OFFENSE:

Points Rush YPG YPC Rush DVOA Pass YPG YPA Manning DVOA Total YPG Turnovers ODVOA
2005 439 106.4 3.7 8.7% 234.4 8.3 40.5% 364.4 19 24.9%
2009 416 80.9 3.5 -3.0% 281.2 7.9 38.1% 363.1 24 19.6%

The 2005 Colts were superior in every respect.  There is no way in which the 2009 Colts are a better offense than the 2005 Colts.  Perhaps the one thing that is different is an intangible.  I believe Manning escapes pressure and throws on the move better now than in 2005.  The results of the Steelers game moved Manning to improve that part of his game, and the Colts no longer depend on a clean pocket like they did then.  In all other respects, 2005 was the superior club on offense.

DEFENSE:

PPG Rush YPG YPC Rush DVOA Pass YPG Net YPA Pass DVOA Total D YPG Turnovers DDVOA
2005 15.4 110.1 4.4 -6.85% 196.9 5.7 -16.7% 307.1 31 -12.2%
2009 19.2 126.5 4.3 0.00% 212.7 5.5 3.4% 339.2 26 1.8%

Again, it’s hard to argue the 2009 is much superior to the 2005 squad. They do allow fewer yards per pass and rush by a hair.  Most of the per game difference is because the 2009 offense isn’t nearly as good, and the D is on the field for more plays than in 2005.

So, if we are making comparisons back to 2005, take no comfort in thinking that ‘we’re better’ than we were then.  They aren’t.

They are worse…in virtually every way.

Now the good news:  That means nothing about this weekend’s game other than we can’t get over confident.  Numbers don’t do a great job capturing the 2009 Colts.  They’ve been banged up and strategically rested all year.  I think the real team is crazy good and is about to debut on Saturday night.

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