By Russell S. Baxter
The numbers have been extraordinary. There have been four weeks of NFL action and a total of 63 games played. With the exception of the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins, each club has taken the field for four contests. And 12 of the 32 teams are already averaging at least 25 points per contest. It’s been pretty amazing as quarterbacks are lighting up opposing defenses for big numbers.
There are 11 players that are averaging 300 more or more yards through the air: Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (1414), the Rams’ Jared Goff (1,406), Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins (1,387), Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick (1,356), Oakland’s Derek Carr (1,373), Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (1,316), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (1,295), Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (1,252), Houston’s Deshaun Watson (1,246), Detroit’s Matthew Stafford (1,202) and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (1,200).
Mahomes, in only his second season in the league and with only five NFL games under his shoulder pads, has set the world on fire with his play, already throwing for 14 touchdowns without an interception during the team’s 4-0 start. The Chiefs and the Rams are the only 4-0 teams in the league and it’s interesting to note that these clubs will battle each other in Week 11 on a Monday night at Mexico City.
It’s also worth noting that pass-catchers all over the league are taking advantage of the quarterbacks’ play. There have already been an amazing 71 receiving performances of 100 or more yards in 2018. And there’s 13 more weeks of play. Consider that a year ago, there were only 140 such outings by wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. It’s shaping up to be a record-breaking year for NFL passing attacks.
Sign of the Times?
But will it last? Will clubs eventually make adjustments and start figuring out a way to slow down these aerial attacks? Will the running game start becoming a bigger factor as time and weather become a bigger factor? It’s been fun to watch so far and it will be fascinating to see if it becomes the norm for 2018.
Russell S. Baxter is the founder of ProFootballGuru.com and a member of the NFL media for 35 years and counting. You can follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.