The Indianapolis Colts were blanked by the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 27-0 in Week 7. The Colts have won just one game in the four contests since the Jacksonville game — but that hasn’t stopped head coach Chuck Pagano from believing that his team has improved since playing Jacksonville.
Pagano says the Colts are a “completely different team” now and more this week when speaking to the media.
“I think we’re a totally different team,” Pagano said. “A totally different team on offense, defense and special teams. We’ve gotten better. The record doesn’t indicate that, but we’ve gotten better so we’ll keep working and we’ll keep grinding and try to make it a one-score game, close and try to finish this one.”
Pagano, who is very likely on the hot seat, better hope that something changes this time around for Indianapolis. Jacksonville sacked Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett 10 times and held him to a Total QBR of 13.2, according to ESPN, in the first contest.
The Jaguars out-gained the Colts 518 yards to 232 yards in that game. Jacksonville also handily won in time of possession and recorded 23 first downs to the Colts’ 15. This game was, in every way, a blow out.
Has Indianapolis really gotten better?
The Colts currently sit at 3-8 overall, which places them at the bottom of the AFC South division. As mentioned, the team has lost three of its last four games since the Jacksonville game. Well, Indianapolis has actually lost five of its past six games overall.
Per Football Outsiders, Indianapolis ranks 30th in total DVOA at -28.1 percent. Offensively, the Colts rank dead last at -23.5 percent. On defense, the Colts aren’t much better at No. 23 in the league with an 8.6 percent mark. But hey, at least Indy ranks ninth in the league in special teams DVOA!
In weighted DVOA, which actually attempts to measure how a team is playing right now and takes into account the most recent games as opposed to the season as a whole, Indianapolis still fares poorly. The Colts current weighted DVOA is at -25.1 percent, ranking 29th in the NFL — only ahead of Cleveland, San Francisco and Miami.
The Colts have been outscored 300-195 this season. Since the meeting with Jacksonville, the Colts have actually closed the gap a bit. They’ve been outscored 78-76 in the four contests since Week 7. An improvement for sure, and I suppose Indy has been more competitive, but I am still unsure that losing games is much to hang your hat on.
Perhaps it’s just “coach speak” on Pagano’s part, or maybe he truly feels his team has improved over the past few weeks. Either way, the Colts are not a very good football team without Andrew Luck — and who knows if they would be this season even if he was healthy?
An improved Colts team or not, I still expect Jacksonville to dominate once again this week. I think Brissett still has nightmares about Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and the rest of the Jaguars defensive line.