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Chargers-Colts Success & Stop Rates

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There were three parts to the San Diego victory on Sunday: Defense, Special Teams and Darren Sproles.  The stats verify the first, don't touch on the second and seem to disagree with the third.  I'd like to start by explaining why the stats are "wrong" about Darren Sproles.

Sproles ran the ball 23 times on Saturday night for 105 yards (4.6 ypc).  The problem was that he was stopped for gains of three yards or fewer on 14 of those carries and not one of those was in a short yardage situation.  He was stuffed* on eight of his attempts.  Stuffs are almost entirely the fault of the offensive line and to a lesser degree, so are carries of 1-3 yards.  If we remove the stuffs from his line (a reasonable action), Sproles' success rate jumps almost 20% from 34.8% to 53.3% (a most respectable rate and more representative of his play on Saturday).  Also his yards per carry balloons from 4.6 to 6.5.

Sproles' 20% success rate in the passing game is also weighed down by factors outside of his control.  Of his eight failures, five incomplete passes that were thrown at his feet and not actually at him.  If you remove those from his line (a reasonable action), his success rate doubles to a still less than stellar 40%.  Still, his two successes are a big 17 yarder on first down and a huge 13 yarder on third and long which the success rate system doesn't effectively reward.  However, that is balanced out by his goal line fumble which the system doesn't effectively punish.

There is also Sproles' stellar night returning punts and kicks that isn't included at the numbers at all, but that I'm certain you're all aware of.

The defense was excellent.  58.5% is damn good against an average offense.  Against the Colts, is downright incredible.  Things didn't look good early.  On the Colts' second drive of the game they went 85 yards on nine plays (seven of them successful).  Once they hit the red zone, it took the Colts only three plays (all three successful) to punch it into the end zone.  Outside of that second drive of the game, the Chargers' defense had a stop rate of 64.3%.

That drive would be the last time the Colts ran a play in the red zone.

Jamal Williams, Jyles Tucker and Stephen Cooper tied for the team lead in Stops with five.  Igor Olshansky and Eric Weddle tied for fourth with three apiece.  Antoine Cason had two.  Luis Castillo, Tim Dobbins, Jacques Cesaire, Matt Wilhelm, Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer also picked up a Stop.  One really can't say enough about the play of the San Diego defense on Saturday.

We already touched on Special Teams in discussing Sproles' night, but the other star of that unit was Mike Scifres.  I might have to get a Scifres jersey.  He punted six times.  His net average was 51.7.  Tony Dungy called him "the difference in the game."  I have asserted to anyone who would listen that Scifres is the best player on the team and after Saturday, I feel a lot better about that.

And one more stat real quick: the Chargers under Norv Turner are 3-1 in the playoffs.

Chargers Offensive Success Rates:

ORZ IRZ
Overall 41.1% 30/73 42.2% 33.3%
Pass 41.0% 16/39 42.9% 25.0%
Run 41.2% 14/34 41.4% 40.0%
1st Down 38.2% 13/34 36.7% 50.0%
2nd Down 41.7% 10/24 47.6% 0.0%
3rd Down 42.9% 6/14 41.7% 50.0%
4th Down 100.0% 1/1 100.0% N/A
1stPass 46.7% 7/15 46.7% N/A
1stRun 31.6% 6/19 26.7% 50.0%
2ndPass 30.8% 4/13 40.0% 0.0%
2ndRun 54.5% 6/11 54.5% N/A
3rdPass 45.5% 5/11 40.0% 100.0%
3rdRun 33.3% 1/3 50.0% 0.0%
4thRun 100.0% 1/1 100.0% N/A
1st Quarter 30.8% 4/13 30.8% N/A
2nd Quarter 61.5% 8/13 55.6% 75.0%
3rd Quarter 47.4% 9/19 52.9% 0.0%
4th Quarter 29.4% 5/17 31.3% 0.0%
Overtime 36.4% 4/11 40.0% 0.0%
1stPass 28.6% 2/7 28.6% N/A
1stRun 33.3% 2/6 33.3% N/A
2ndPass 57.1% 4/7 60.0% 50.0%
2ndRun 66.7% 4/6 50.0% 100.0%
3rdPass 40.0% 4/10 44.4% 0.0%
3rdRun 55.6% 5/9 62.5% 0.0%
4thPass 36.4% 4/11 36.4% N/A
4thRun 16.7% 1/6 20.0% 0.0%
OTPass 50.0% 2/4 50.0% N/A
OTRun 28.6% 2/7 33.3% 0.0%
Bennett (Rec) 50.0% 1/2 50.0% N/A
Chambers (Rec) 57.1% 4/7 50.0% 100.0%
Gates (Rec) 77.8% 7/9 87.5% 0.0%
Hester (Rec) 50.0% 1/2 50.0% N/A
Jackson (Rec) 0.0% 0/1 0.0% N/A
Manumaleuna (Rec) 0.0% 0/1 N/A 0.0%
Naanee (Rec) 50.0% 1/2 50.0% N/A
Sproles (Rec) 20.0% 2/10 22.2% 0.0%
Tomlinson (Rec) 0.0% 0/1 0.0% N/A
Bennett (Run) 50.0% 2/4 50.0% N/A
Rivers (Run) 50.0% 1/2 50.0% N/A
Sproles (Run) 34.8% 8/23 36.8% 25.0%
Tomlinson (Run) 60.0% 3/5 50.0% 100.0%

Chargers Defensive Stop Rates:

ORZ IRZ
Overall 58.5% 38/65 61.3% 0.0%
Pass 56.8% 25/44 58.1% 0.0%
Run 61.9% 13/21 68.4% 0.0%
1st Down 63.0% 17/27 68.0% 0.0%
2nd Down 50.0% 11/22 52.4% 0.0%
3rd Down 60.0% 9/15 60.0% N/A
4th Down 100.0% 1/1 100.0% N/A
1stPass 58.8% 10/17 62.5% 0.0%
1stRun 70.0% 7/10 77.8% 0.0%
2ndPass 43.8% 7/16 43.8% N/A
2ndRun 66.7% 4/6 80.0% 0.0%
3rdPass 70.0% 7/10 70.0% N/A
3rdRun 40.0% 2/5 40.0% N/A
4thPass 100.0% 1/1 100.0% N/A
1st Quarter 41.2% 7/17 50.0% 0.0%
2nd Quarter 78.9% 15/19 78.9% N/A
3rd Quarter 61.5% 8/13 61.5% N/A
4th Quarter 50.0% 8/16 50.0% N/A
1stPass 33.3% 4/12 36.4% 0.0%
1stRun 60.0% 3/5 100.0% 0.0%
2ndPass 83.3% 10/12 83.3% N/A
2ndRun 71.4% 5/7 71.4% N/A
3rdPass 60.0% 6/10 60.0% N/A
3rdRun 66.7% 2/3 66.7% N/A
4thPass 50.0% 5/10 50.0% N/A
4thRun 50.0% 3/6 50.0% N/A
Addai (Rec) 20.0% 1/5 20.0% N/A
Clark (Rec) 80.0% 8/10 80.0% N/A
Gonzalez (Rec) 44.4% 4/9 50.0% 0.0%
Harrison (Rec) 33.3% 2/6 33.3% N/A
Robinson (Rec) 100.0% 2/2 100.0% N/A
Wayne (Rec) 63.6% 7/11 63.6% N/A
Addai (Run) 68.8% 11/16 78.6% 0.0%
Clark (Run) 0.0% 0/1 0.0% N/A
Rhodes (Run) 50.0% 2/4 50.0% N/A