With top QBs struggling, scoring is down across NFL
With some of the most accomplished quarterbacks in the NFL struggling to produce points it was no surprise the league had one of its lowest scoring weeks.
The 20.3 points per game by teams was the lowest for a Week 3 since 2009 and the fourth lowest for any week in the past five seasons.
Teams led by Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers — the winners of four of the last five MVP awards — played a major role with their teams combining for 43 points Sunday. That’s the fewest points scored in the 57 weeks all three of those stand-out QBs have started. The previous low was 55 in Week 15 of the 2018 season.
Brady and the banged-up Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had the biggest problems offensively early this season, failing to score more than 20 points in any of their three games. Tampa Bay is scoring 17 points per game, down from 30.1 last season.
That’s just the fifth time that’s ever happened in three straight games for a team quarterbacked by Brady and second in the past 11 seasons. It happened once in 2019 in New England.
The Bucs and the New York Giants are the only teams without a first-half touchdown as absences on the offensive line and receiver have taken a toll.
The beneficiaries of that poor production by Tampa Bay were Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, who pulled out the 14-12 road win despite failing to score following the first two drives.
It marked just the fourth time in Rodgers’ career that he ended up on the winning side in a game when Green Bay failed to score more than 14 points. The Packers are averaging 16 points per game, down from 26.5 last season.
Kansas City’s offense was clicking to start the season with 44 points in the opener but has scored just 44 the last two weeks, including a 20-17 loss at Indianapolis in Week 3 that marked just the fifth time the Chiefs scored 17 points or fewer with Mahomes at quarterback.
Overall, the 21 point per game average for the NFL is the lowest through Week 3 since it was 20.2 points per game in 2010.
The Buffalo Bills somehow managed to lose a game to Miami despite outgaining the Dolphins by 285 yards.
In the Super Bowl era, teams that outgain the opposition by at least 285 yards had a 266-11-1 (.959) record in those games before Tua Tagovailoa and Miami’s 21-19 win.
The last team to overcome that and win was also the Dolphins, in Tagovailoa’s first career start on Nov. 1, 2020, when Miami was outgained by 326 yards in a 28-17 win over the Rams.
The San Francisco-Denver game also was an outlier, with the Broncos win becoming just the second 11-10 game in NFL history. The Steelers beat the Chargers by that score on Nov. 16, 2008.
It was also the second game in NFL history when the winning team had exactly one touchdown, one field goal and one safety. The other time it happened came Oct. 12, 2008, when Minnesota beat Detroit 12-10.
In an odd coincidence, the safety in that game came when Dan Orlovsky stepped over the end line in the end zone just like Jimmy Garoppolo did Sunday night.
For the fifth time since the merger, only two teams remain winless after Week 3 with Las Vegas (0-3) and Houston (0-2-1) doing it.
That previously happened in 1988, ’89, ’90 and 2012, But this is just the first time since 1959 that only one team started a season 0-3, with the Lions doing it that year.
The Raiders managed to lose all three games despite their opponents failing to win any in their other games, joining the 2012 Saints and 1989 Cowboys as the only teams to do that since the merger.
There are also only two teams at 3-0, with Philadelphia and Miami pulling that off. This is the third time since the merger that only three teams either won or lost each of their first three games.
It also happened in 1972 when Miami was 3-0 and New Orleans and Philadelphia were 0-3; and in 1971 when Washington was 3-0 and Philadelphia and Buffalo were 0-3.
The NFL standings have undergone an early season flip.
Eight teams that missed the playoffs last season have winning records so far this season led by undefeated Miami. Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Denver and the Giants also have winning records at 2-1 after missing out last season.
There are seven teams that made the playoffs in 2021 that have losing records early this season with the Raiders the only 0-3 team in the league and defending AFC champion Cincinnati at 1-2. New England, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, San Francisco and Arizona also are 1-2.
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