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BEN VOLIN

Offensive numbers were way down across the NFL in 2017

Todd Gurley, Sean McVay, and the Rams led the NFL in scoring in the regular season at 29.9 points per game.
Todd Gurley, Sean McVay, and the Rams led the NFL in scoring in the regular season at 29.9 points per game. Mark Zaleski/AP

This originally appeared in this week’s Sunday Football Notes.

The numbers were way down in 2017. The NFL should be worried.

No, we’re not talking about TV ratings. This time, it’s the production of offenses and quarterbacks that should concern the owners.

Scoring was significantly down for the regular season. This from a league that has long believed that more points lead to more excitement, which leads to higher TV ratings. The rule changes over the last decade-plus have all favored offense, yet the offenses took a significant step backward this season.

The Rams led the NFL in scoring at 29.9 points per game (478 total). It was the first time since 2014 that no team scored at least 500 points, and first time since 2008 that no team averaged at least 30 points.

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The scoring average this season was 21.7 points. That’s 1.1 lower than last year’s average, nearly 2 points lower than the 2013 high mark of 23.4, and the lowest average since the 2009 season.

An offensive game League-wide scoring over the last 10 seasons.
Season Pts Avg Tm Pts/G TD Avg Tm TD/Season Avg Tm TD/G
2017 11,110 21.7 1,225 38.3 2.39
2016 11,647 22.8 1,306 40.8 2.55
2015 11,678 22.8 1,318 41.2 2.57
2014 11,565 22.6 1,293 40.4 2.53
2013 11,987 23.4 1,338 41.8 2.61
2012 11,651 22.8 1,297 40.5 2.53
2011 11,358 22.2 1,259 39.3 2.46
2010 11,283 22.0 1,270 39.7 2.48
2009 10,991 21.5 1,247 39.0 2.44
2008 11,279 22.0 1,246 38.9 2.43
SOURCE: pro-football-reference.com

If that doesn’t sound like much, consider this — there were 541 fewer points scored this season, or the equivalent of 77 touchdowns. In fact, the 1,225 touchdowns scored were 81 fewer than last year, 113 fewer than were scored in 2013, and the fewest touchdowns scored since the 2006 season.

And finally, the league-wide passer rating of 85.1 was significantly lower than the 87.6, 88.4, and 87.1 posted the last three seasons.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhartsaid Friday, “I don’t think there’s a significant concern” on the lack of scoring and highlighted the fact that eight new teams have made the playoffs this season.


Ben Volin can be reached at ben.volin@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin