While stats are available on other sites, it can be helpful double check the numbers for accuracy. I have gone through every offensive and defensive play, noting statistics for each player; such as snap counts, position evaluations, position locations, formations, etc. I will describe each statistic to clear up any confusion between discrepancies from the following stats and the official stats. There was too much information to include all of the data, so what follows is a collection of the most interesting categories.
*If anyone is interested taking a look at the raw data, feel free to contact me.
First I’ll cover the offense and give a few comments on particular things I found interesting, or that struck me as different from my initial perception watching the game live.
The following table deals with the offensive line. While watching the line play, I noticed four types of blocks occur. The first type was good blocks (G), where the linemen was at least not allowing the defender to get through him. The second type was failed blocks (F), where despite the lineman engaging the defender, the defender forced his way around, leaving the lineman at a disadvantage. The third type was simply missed blocks (M), where the lineman failed to recognize who he needed to block and allowed the defender to pass into the backfield unchallenged. The final type of block I saw was a turn (T), which was where an edge lineman was beaten around the edge by a defender, leaving the lineman at a disadvantage and forced to play catchup. Failed blocks occurred when a lineman was physically outperformed, while missed blocks occurred when a lineman committed a mental mistake. Turns, on the other hand can be be both mental and physical as a lineman can be beaten off the snap (mental), as well as physically outpaced after the snap (physical).
Therefore, in addition to putting the basic snap count, sacks, hits, and pressures for each lineman, I’ve also included the percentage of snaps where they rated the given type of block (G=Good, F=Failed Block, M=Missed Block, T=Turn).
I have noted the formations and personnel sets also. The next couple of tables will show the formations the Colts used, the situations in which they were used, how effective they were, as well as the personnel.
The above table shows the base formation and set used during the game, with the total number of snaps, and number of run and passing plays used in that set and formation, as well as the other basic accompanying stats.
The table above shows situational uses of formations and sets employed against the Texans. In the “Down” portion of the table, the header for each column gives the down number followed by the total number of times that down was played during the game. For example, if one said 2(18), that would display second downs and indicate that there were 18 second downs played.
In the table above, the number of snaps each player played at a specific position on the field is shown. WL stands for “Wide Left,” while SL stands for “Slot Left,” and so on. TEL and TER are the Tight End positions on the left and right side of the line, and TR, SR, and WR refer to the trip/slot/wide positions to the right.
Things to note on the Offense
* While Richard did not play spectacularly, he was not nearly as bad as I thought. Well over half of his snaps resulted in positive blocking, and by the end of the game, the raw data shows that at many points the Texans gave up blitzing up the middle and simply pressed the edges leaving Pollak, Saturday, and Richard with no one to block, resulting in neither a good nor bad grade (which skews the result). On a personal note, there were very few blocks I would describe as spectacular, but Richard did make a couple I would. Whether it was simply a sub-par defensive tackle, or an instance of skill, Richard had three blocks where he held a defensive tackle at the line of scrimmage one-on-one without help from any other linemen. While not an answer for the future there may be more of a use for him than initially thought.
* Keeping with the offensive line theme, one thing that stuck out to me was the utter way the tackles were simply failing to do anything. I may just be reading into this one game too much, but I found it interesting how the tackle that is the oldest but has the most experience had fewer mental mistakes, but was beaten physically quite a bit more often. On the other side of that coin, the tackle that had been absent from the line for most of the off season showed a prevalence for mental errors instead of physical shortcomings.
* While small sample sizes make it difficult to make any kind of prediction on trends, it was interesting to see Manning operating from under center was significantly less effective than him operating out of the gun. It may just be the bias from the complete lack of a run game empowering the play action pass, but I just found it strange how the formation that just screams, “I’m going to throw the ball,” ended up being the most effective at delivering on that promise.
* In terms of formations, I was intrigued by the lack of use of the single-back formation in third down situations, and the prevalence of the shotgun formation in downs with less than seven yards to go. In third down situations where the Colts may have been in a position to run for the first down, they lined up in the shotgun every time. When the team had only a moderate distance to go, instead of trying to cover that distance with a run they stuck to the shotgun formation by a 2:1 margin. The simple fact that the passing game was still effective, and that the game was still potentially winnable into the later part of the game, makes the thought of an effective play-action very tantalizing.
* One final note: When Donald Brown was drafted, he was expected to be on the short side of a 60/40 running back duo, yet against the Texans, the margin was 80/20 (in favor of Addai). One can only speculate as to the deeper meaning of this change in events, but suffice it to say that Addai may very well be getting his opportunity to win a new contract with the Colts this year.
Before I start on the defense I will explain one of the big ways my stats may differ from other listed stats. I watched the game play-by-play, saw who initiated tackles, who finished them, who missed tackles, etc. When I awarded tackles, this was the process I used:
1) Did the player who who made first contact stay with the tackle until it was completed? If so, he gets first dibs to the tackle and the next player to hit and help complete the tackle gets an assist.
2) If the first defender did not stay with the tackle, did he at least hit hard enough to slow the ball carrier down for the next defender to finish the play? If so, then the defender who finishes the tackle gets credit for it and the initial defender gets the assist.
3) If the first defender does not stay with the tackle and does not help another defender bring the ball carrier down with a hit or by slowing him down, then that first defender does not get credit for the tackle or the assist.
It may not be perfectly fair or right, I just wanted to have a consistent set of rules that made sense enough that I could follow them.
I split the four tables up by position, starting with the defensive line, then the linebackers, safeties, and the cornerbacks. They have been ordered by snap count.
As with the offense I took notes on the formations of the defense. The formations are listed with the first number representing the number of defensive linemen, the second represents the linebackers, the third represents the corners, and the final number represents the safeties.
Things to note on the Defense
* I was surprised by the large combination of linemen actually used during the game. While Mitch King only got a half-dozen snaps, we ended up using eight different players to fill the same basic four positions. With how poor the run defense was against the Texans, it would be reasonable to think that we will probably see a similar usage in personnel until we find a group that works particularly well together against the run.
* In nickel packages, it was not Tryon who was playing the nickel position but instead was Powers. Speaking of Tryon, given his relatively new addition I was surprised he was used so quickly in a regular season game.
* Once again, it is only a small sample size, but it was odd that I was also surprised that the nickel formation, which is supposed be the most lethal to a passing attack, was the formation that was more or less abused by the limited passing game in the Texans game.
* Despite the common perception that Wheeler played poorly against the Texans, it seemed like he was the only one who could be bothered to pay attention. Session and Brackett often ran in the wrong direction and got stuck in the defensive line traffic, failing to get penetration. Wheeler actually showed some real hustle on a couple of plays where he cut, worked his way through heavy traffic, and got into position to make a play on the ball carrier. Wheeler ended up with more solo and assisted tackles than his teammates.
Now that you’ve had a chance to look at the stats, what sticks out to you? What makes you hopeful, and what brought you pause? Is there something I’ve left out you’d like to see covered in the next Game Stats? Feel free to comment what you wish.