The Colts have made 32 trips into the redzone with 20 TDs, the 4th best rate in the league so far this year. There’s a glaring problem with this statistic though. Nearly every measure of redzone success you’ll see either ignores fieldgoals or treats them as equal to TDs.
In addition to the 20 TDs, Adam Vinatieri has attempted 11 fieldgoals of 38 yards or less, hitting 10 of them. This means of the Colts 32 redzone appearances, there have been 20TDs while 10 have netted a field goal, for 5.31 points per redzone appearance. How does this compare to previous years?
In 2009 the Colts made 54 redzone trips with 35 TDs, a rate about 2% better than this year. On top of the 35 TDs there were 5 RZ FGs from Vinatieri and 7 RZ FGs from Stover, giving 5.20 points per redzone appearance.
So compared to last year, the Colts are actually getting into the redzone slightly more often and getting a sliver more points per time they do.
Mgrex’s excellent winning factors series ran the numbers on the Colts redzone success from 2004 to 2008. In that 5 year span the Colts scored 225 TDs with 105 FGs on 371 trips to the redzone. 5.09 points per redzone appearance.
Running all the way back from 2008 to 2001 the Colts scored 87.4% of the redzone trips with 277 TDs and 132 FGs in 468 appearances. 4.99 points per RZ attempt.
Then why does it seem like the Colts are struggling in the redzone? Maybe it’s a recent effect the last few games.
The Colts have made 11 trips to the redzone the last 3 games, netting 6 TDs and 5 FGs. That’s 5.18 points per appearance, actually better than the Colts usual clip the last decade.
My last idea for reconciling my impression of redzone struggles with the numbers is very short fieldgoals. They are especially frustrating and wouldn’t show up in the redzone stats. The Colts have made 5 fieldgoals of 27 yards or less (meaning the LOS was inside the 10) through the first 9 games of 2010. In 2009 they made just 4 all year. In 2008 it was just 2. You have to go back to 2007 to find the Colts kicking so many chip shot FGs with 13 that year. 2007 is the only year among the past 6 in which the Colts have hit more than 5 FGs of 27 yards or less. If the Colts keep pace, the 9 very short FGs will be their 3rd highest total this decade behind 2007 (13) and 2003 (12).
The Colts are still turning redzone attempts into points at their traditionally high rate, but the unusually high number of chip shot FGs they’ve kicked this year could account for the impression of struggles quite well.