COLUMN: NFL scoring trending up again

Why are point totals climbing? No preseason, injuries, or something else?

Points are way up in the National Football League so far this season, and some may be an effect from limited camp and no preseason. The likes of Nick Bosa, Malik Hooker, Von Miller, Leighton Vander Esch and Vita Vea, among others being on injured reserve also do not help.

Yet, with the average points per game being up three points from last year and two from the second-highest of all-time, the defensive injuries cannot be the lone factor.

Another reason for the higher totals is kicking. The average field goal percentage is over 85% and that type of efficiency brings this season to hold the most field goals made per game in NFL history.

Despite kickers’ having a good season, it’s also not the main reason why scoring is so high either. The running game might be as effective as it has ever been. Yards per carry are tied for the highest of all-time, fumbles per game are at the lowest all-time, and rushing touchdowns per game are over one for the first time since 1979.

But just because running has been great this season, don’t think for a second that it is not still a passing league.

Passing attempts are at the third highest in NFL history, just 0.1 behind first. Yards per game, completion percentage, quarterback rating and touchdowns per game are all also at the highest ever. On top of that, interceptions per game are tied for the lowest ever.

With fumbles and interceptions being so low, turnovers are coming at a premium. This has allowed the running and passing game to thrive this NFL season. With offenses keeping possession and being able to move the ball down the field by run and pass, or seemingly any way they choose, points being easy to come by should not be surprising.

The high pace and high scoring approach should be expected to continue this season, but the real question is does the scoring slow down after this season?

Is this just caused by minimal off-season work and preparation? Is this, like much of 2020, a product of COVID-19? Or is this just the new way of playing the game?

High pace and high powered offenses might be the new trend in the NFL, and if I had to say what I think going into the next couple of seasons, my money would be on the records to keep coming.