Patriots - Colts: Statistically Speaking

The New England Patriots are reeling from injury, roster turnover and have looked vulnerable to good teams this season. The Indianapolis Colts have methodically taken care of business where it mattered most, on the score board. Patriots Insider Chris Goodhue takes a look at the numbers and shares some keys to the game.

Patriots - Colts: Statistically Speaking
By Chris Goodhue

The Patriots will enter the second half of the season with a huge boost in momentum if they can dispose of the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night. On the offensive side for New England, the name of the game will be ball control. In last year’s Divisional Playoffs, the Pats ate up 37:43 of the game clock, thereby holding the Colts to a meager 22:17 of possession, and 3 points. They would be wise to try the same strategy this year.

 

Dillon's Impact:

Of course, anyone knows that the best way to use the clock to your advantage is to run the ball relentlessly. Corey Dillon may be banged up, but it looks as there is no choice but for him to play, now that Patrick Pass is nursing a sore hammy, and Amos Zeroue was cut loose to make way for free-agent FB Heath Evans. Dillon played well vs. Buffalo after missing Week 6 at Denver, and resting on the bye week.

Here are Dillon's numbers game by game:

WkTeam
Carries
Yards
Av.
TDs
1
Oakland
23
63
2.7
2
2
Carolina
14
36
2.6
0
3
Pittsburgh
22
61
2.8
2
4
San Diego
14
63
4.5
1
5
Atlanta
23
106
4.6
0
6
Denver
dnp
-
-
-
7
Bye
-
-
-
-
8
Buffalo
18
72
4.0
2
TOTALS
114
401
3.5
7

 

Colts Rush Defense:

The young left side of the Pats line is key again, and this week’s match-up is tougher than last week’s as rookie OT Nick Kazcur will take on All-Pro DE Dwight Freeney. If he can be helped with double teams from TE Daniel Graham, Dillon may have enough clearance to unload on the smallish linebackers of Indianapolis.

The Colts rush defense is better than its previous incarnation, as they’ve allowed only 2 rushing TD’s all season, but opposing rushers are averaging 4.5 yards per carry against them, and they’ve only faced 1 RB ranked in the top 10 in rushing (Steven Jackson, 9th).

Here is how the Colts have fared against opposing runners:

WkRBTeam
Carries
Yards
Av.
TDs
1 Jamal LewisBAL
16
48
3.0
0
2Fred TaylorJAX
16
81
5.1
0
3Reuben DroughnsCLE
22
76
3.5
0
4Jarrett PaytonTEN
4
37
9.3
0
5Kevan BarlowSF
18
99
5.5
0
6Steven JacksonSTL
17
88
5.2
1
7Domanick DavisHOU
28
98
3.5
1
8 BYE
-
-
-
-
-
Avg. per game (only primary RB)
17
69
4.0
0.3

 

The Brady Factor:

Tom Brady played solid last Sunday night vs. Buffalo, and much of that can be attributed to the improved play of the offensive line, which gave him ample time to make passes, unlike the Denver game in which he was getting hit regularly. In each of the Patriots wins, Brady has bested a QB rating of 80.0 and a completion percentage of 60%. In the games in which he has not attained these benchmarks, they are 0-3.

Here are Brady’s numbers week by week:

WkOpponent
Att/comp
Yards
Pct
TDs
Int
Rate
1Oakland
24/48
306
63.2%
2
0
105.8
2Carolina
23/44
270
52.3%
1
1
69.3
3Pittsburgh
31/41
372
75.6%
0
1
92.7
4San Diego
19/32
224
59.4%
1
1
78.1
5Atlanta
22/27
350
81.5%
3
1
140.4
6 Denver
24/46
299
52.2%
1
0
79.9
7 BYE
-
-
-
-
-
-
8 Buffalo
14/21
199
66.7%
1
0
113.0

The key to getting crisp passes off will be to slow Freeney, who will probably be double teamed for the majority of the game. Kazcur will surely be in over his head if he doesn’t get help form a tight end.

 

Colts Pass Defense:

The pass defense of the Colts looks great when you look at the numbers (an AFC high 26 sacks, 2nd with 12 INT’s, and 1st in pass TD’s allowed with 5.) only it lacks substance. It’s no secret that the Indy hasn’t had the toughest schedule thus far, (17-34 opponents record, compared to 31-21 by the Pats opponents) the highest rated passer they’ve faced (Marc Bulger, 90.8) played only about a quarter and a half before hurting his shoulder, and the next highest is Steve McNair with 83.8.

The Colts play a lot of Cover 2, so most of the time, safeties Mike Doss and Bob Sanders will be playing off the ball and helping corners Jason David and Nick Harper on the deep outside. Brady will be able to take advantage of this with the play action, short slants and hooks to Deion Branch and David Givens, as well as deep routes to Daniel Graham and Ben Watson if he is in the lineup.

Here is how opposing QB’s have vs. the Colts weekly:

WkQBOpp
Att/comp
Yards
Pct
TDs
Int
Rate
1Boller/WrightBAL
34/54
355
62.9 %
1
3
65.0
2Byron LeftwichJAX
16/29
198
55.2%
0
0
76.0
3Trent DilferCLE
22/29
208
75.9%
0
0
95.2
4Steve McNairTEN
28/37
220
75.7%
1
1
87.7
5Alex SmithSF
9/23
74
39.1%
0
4
8.5
6Bulger/Martin STL
22/39
255
79.3%
2
3
86.7
7David Carr HOU
6/9
48
66.7%
1
1
77.3

 

Colts Edgerrin James:

This year Edgerrin James has been more of the offensive catalyst than Peyton Manning. James is averaging a staggering 4.9 yards per carry and already has 7 TD’s. He had 9 all of last season. Behind one of the game’s best offensive lines, the Colts are committing more to the run this season than last. So far 52% of the plays called have been runs, compared to 44.2% in 2004. Not to take anything away from James, but once again opponents strength comes into question. The only defense the Colts have faced ranked in the top 10 in rush defense is Baltimore, coming in at 9th in the league.

Here is James’ numbers game by game:

WkTeam
Carries
Yards
Av.
TDs
1
Baltimore
23
88
3.8
0
2
Jacksonville
27
128
4.7
0
3
Cleveland
27
108
4.0
1
4
Tennessee
21
90
4.3
0
5
San Francisco
21
105
5.0
1
6
St. Louis
23
143
6.2
3
7
Houston
21
139
6.6
2
Avg per game
23
114
4.9
1.0

 

Patriots Rush Defense:

The dual threat that James presents will be a challenge for the Pats’ defenders. Tesy Bruschi may have the task of spying James, as he does have the adequate speed to cover him in the flat. Between the tackles, NT Vince Wilfork will have to do a better job of pushing his blocker into the backfield to create problems.

Here is how opponents RB’s have done vs. the Pats:

WkRBTeam
Carries
Yards
Av.
TDs
1 Lamont Jordan
OAK
18
70
3.9
0
2Stephen Davis
CAR
25
77
3.1
3
3Willie Parker
PIT
17
55
3.2
0
4LaDainian Tomlinson
SD
25
134
5.4
2
5Warrick Dunn
ATL
19
83
4.4
0
6Anderson/Bell
DEN
28
171
6.1
2
7 BYE
-
-
-
-
-
8Willis McGahee
BUF
31
136
4.4
0
Avg. per game (only primary RB)
23
104
4.5
1.0

 

Colts Manning Factor:

After an otherworldly 2004 campaign in which he threw for 4557 yards and 49 TD’s , Peyton Manning is more on pace to reach his average season numbers (not including ’04) of 4147 pass yards and 28 TD passes, which aren’t too shabby either.

Here’s his game-by-game breakdown:

WkOpponent
Att/comp
Yards
Pct
TDs
Int
Rate
1
Baltimore
21/36
254
58.3%
2
0
98.6
2
Jacksonville
13/28
122
46.4%
0
1
44.0
3
Cleveland
19/23
228
82.6%
0
1
89.9
4
Tennessee
20/27
264
74.1%
4
0
144.1
5
San Francisco
23/31
255
74.2%
1
2
82.1
6
St. Louis
22/32
191
68.8%
2
0
105.1
7 Houston
21/27
237
77.8%
2
1
112.5
8
BYE
-
-
-
-
-
-

 

Patriots Pass Defense:

It is an absolute must for the Patriots defensive line to disrupt Manning, which is not an easy task. Manning has been sacked just 5 times all year. If Richard Seymour is available this week, it will help a unit that has brought down the QB just 13 times and recorded just 2 interceptions, the second coming last week courtesy of Assante Samuel. Given the situation in the secondary, don’t be surprised to see blitzes coming from all angles, including the corners, to mess up Manning timing and to force a much needed turnover.

Here’s the game-by-game break down of opposing QB’s vs. the Pats:

WkQBOpp
Att/comp
Yards
Pct
TDs
Int
Rate
1Kerry CollinsOAK
18/39
265
46.2 %
3
0
94.5
2Jake DelhommeCAR
11/26
154
42.3%
0
1
46.0
3Ben RoethlisbergerPIT
12/28
216
42.6%
2
0
93.7
4Drew BreesSD
19/24
248
79.2%
2
0
137.5
5Matt SchaubATL
18/34
298
52.9%
3
0
112.1
6Jake Plummer DEN
17/24
262
70.8%
2
0
134.4
7Kelly Holcomb BUF
20/33
263.
60.6%
1
1
83.3

 

Injury Impact:

The Patriots will likely be without starting defensive end Richard Seymour who has missed significant playing time due to a knee injury. If Seymour cannot play, Jarvis Green, and Marquise Hill are expected to fit into the rotation. Green has demonstrated the ability to perform well in Seymour's absence, but the advantage favors the Colts.

Another big playmaker expected to be questionable for playing time is RB Corey Dillon who has been hampered by leg injuries. Dillon was supposed to sit out of last Sunday's game against the Bills, but an injury to FB Patrick Pass forced Dillon (the only healthy RB) to play. Since Pass is injured, Kevin Faulk is out and Dillon is still recovering, the team signed FB Heath Evans and RB Mike Cloud this week. Both should see playing time in place of Dillon and Pass.

Final Thoughts:

The Patriots have major injury concerns. Their secondary is banged up and playing a number of rookies or street free agents no other team wanted. This is a defining moment for the Colts franchise. If Indianapolis is ever going to get the proverbial monkey off their back, this would be the game to do it. The Colts have every statistical advantage headed into this rematch, if they cannot find a way to beat an injury riddled, vulnerable New England team, then they may never get over the hump this season.


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Patriots Insider Jon Scott contributed to this report.


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