ATLANTA -- Like most of his teammates, Tampa Bay strong safety Sean Jones was hurriedly dressing Sunday night, probably to escape the scene of the crime, when a reporter noted to him that the Bucs had surrendered the most points in the NFL.
"Wow," said the eight-year veteran. "That seems
like a lot of points."
Four hundred and ninety-four points, to be exact,
a dubious total topped only by the 2008 Detroit Lions (517) since the
2002 realignment. But then again, the NFL was all about points --
usually scoring them in bunches, and not necessarily surrendering them
in gobs in the generous manner of the hapless Bucs -- in 2011.
Overshadowed by the look-ahead to the playoffs, in
which five of the 12 participants averaged 25.0 points or more, is the
fact the league established a new, modern-day record for scoring this
season. The 32 teams combined for 11,356 points, an average of 44.36
per game. That topped the 44.07 points per game that the league
averaged last season. The only season higher was when games averaged
46.12 points in 1965, before the merger, and prior to the Super Bowl
This season marked the third time in the past four
years that the NFL established a new scoring high.
Said Atlanta wide receiver Roddy White after
Sunday's 45-24 victory over the Bucs: "Defenses are still good, man,
don't get me wrong ... but it's very definitely swung to an offensive
The NFL saved its best for the last weekend of the
regular season, with Green Bay's 45-41 win in the shootout with the
Lions the highest scoring game of the year. But there were three games
among the 256 contests played during the 2011 regular season that
featured 80-plus points, and the Packers and Lions were each involved
in two of them.
There was some sense at the outset of the season
that the new kickoff rule -- which moved the kickoff up to the 35-yard
line and resulted in more touchbacks and worse field position -- might
negatively impact scoring. But the rule, actually designed to promote
safety and not to put a damper on scoring, was easily offset by the
record passing season and the resultant offensive explosion.
Touchdowns easily trumped touchbacks.
In all, there were 79 games, more than 30 percent
of the regular-season matchups, in which 50 or more points were scored.
Thirty-four games featured 60 points or more, 10 had 70 points, and
three had 80 points. The Packers averaged 35.0 points per game.
There was at least one 50-point game in all 17
weeks of the regular season. All but three weeks of play featured at
least one 60-point game.
"You've got to get the ball in the end zone," New Orleans wide receiver Marques Colston noted a week ago, after the
Saints had smoked the Falcons, 45-16. "It's the name of the game
Not surprisingly, the high-powered New Orleans
offense finished second in the NFL in scoring, with 547 points, behind
only the Packers (560). Green Bay finished as the second
highest-scoring team in history, the Saints as the fourth
highest-scoring. New England (513) was the third team to score 500-plus
points in 2011.
By comparison, since 2002, there had never been a
season in which more than one club had scored 500 points. In fact,
since the realignment, only four franchises had managed the feat.
Scoring Not The Problem In 2011?
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