Defense is once again en vogue, as teams have finally figured out how to slow the run while dropping extra players in coverage. We’ve also seen a drop in red zone production, which has lowered scoring across the league.
We do still get the occasional 44-point outburst by the Chiefs, and the Bills have also posted a 40-burger this season. But we also have 12 teams averaging less than 20 points per game.
This is still an age of the NFL being flush with great quarterbacks. But when you compare what we’ve seen the last five years, quarterback play is down in 2022.
Using Cold, Hard Football Facts as our statistical guide, Real Quarterback Rating tells the story. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers rank 14th in the league this season, vs. first overall in 2021. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals are 18th the season, compared to 13th a season ago. And the Los Angeles Rams are the biggest drop from last year to this year. Matthew Stafford had the Rams fourth in 2021, on their way to the Super Bowl. This year they rank 28th in the NFL, behind the Broncos, Texans, and Commanders.
The Rams points per game is down almost 10 full points from last season. They averaged 27.0 points per game in 2021, and just 17.3 this year. The Packers are down over a touchdown – 25.6 in 2021 to 18.3 this year.
Inefficiency Reigns Supreme
The Chiefs are dominating the Cold, Hard Football Facts statistic called Scoreability, which measures how many yards a team needs for every point it scores. It is directly related to red zone efficiency, and making the most of your offensive opportunities.
Kansas City is first, as 12.66 yards per point scored, which is higher than anyone averaged last year. But a year ago there were 11 teams that needed less than 14 yards per point scored, and that’s down to just five this season.
In fact, the sixth-place team in 2022, the Tennessee Titans, are at 14.30 yards per point. That would have had them ranked 16th in 2021, just behind the New Orleans Saints.
The Cowboys were at 13.05 in 2021; the Bengals were 13.36; the Buccaneers at 13.50; and the Rams at 13.75. The Cowboys are down to 15.93 this year, but of course, they had the injury to Dak Prescott to deal with. But the other teams have been healthy at quarterback, and the Bengals are now at 14.82, the Bucs are all the way down to 18.66 (ranked 28th in the NFL), and the Rams are at 17.88, which ranks 25th in the league. They were seventh overall in 2021.
Quarterback play is down, sacks are up, and offensive efficiency has bottomed out. And all of it has led to fewer points, only a small handful of great teams, and tighter final scores.