Hold on to your hats, Colts fans, I'm about to blow your mind with next-level analysis.
The 2011 Colts had their season derailed by injuries.
No, no, hold your accolades. I'll give you time to catch your breath. I know that bit of wisdom knocked you clean on your ass. Collect yourself and keep reading.
This week, Advanced Stat of the Week will look at Adjusted Games Lost (AGL), to see what it can tell us about the Colts.
Adjusted Games Lost is a great metric that helps to ascertain the real impact of injuries on a team. In short, it gives teams credit not only for the actual games missed by starters, but for the consequences of injuries in terms of lost practice time and diminished performance.
Anytime a starer is ruled out, a team gets credit for one game lost. The team gets partial credit for games in which a starter is ruled probable, questionable or doubtful based on averages for how often these players actually play.
The result is a list that corresponds very well with winning. Eight of the top 10 teams and 12 of the top 15 in AGL finished with at least a .500 record.
The Colts were an abject disaster before the season even began. When Peyton Manning went in for his second surgery, all hope for the Colts went with him. Even so, Indy's injury problems went deeper than just Manning. By the end of the first two games, they had lost Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt as well.
As bad as the offensive injuries were, they were just as bad on defense. The Colts had the fifth most injured defense in football. Imagine if they had still had Bob Sanders on the roster.
The Colts saw carnage roster-wide. It hit hardest at quarterback (obviously) and at defensive back, where they ranked sixth worst in the league.
Injuries have been a constant theme for the Colts for years now. There has been endless speculation as to why they suffer so many. Much of the speculation has centered on their penchant for taking smaller, faster players. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no evidence to validate that claim. It's pure speculation.
Whether it was Sanders, or Dwight Freeney or ultimately Manning, the only thing that held the Colts back from even more dominance over the past 12 years was the constant wave of injuries year after year.