NEW YORK (AP) — Plenty of scoring and close games are good for business in the NFL.
Teams are scoring at a record pace. The number of points (4,489), touchdowns (504) and touchdown passes (328) are the most in league history through six weeks.
And, games are coming down to the end.
Sixty-nine percent of all games (64 of 93) have been within one score in the fourth quarter. A total of 54 games have been decided by one score — eight points or less. That’s tied for the most in league history at this point. There have been 28 games decided by three points or fewer, second-most at this point. At least one game has reached overtime the first six weeks for the first time since extra time was instituted in 1974.
“I don’t think there has been a better time to be an NFL fan,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday. “The quality of the games and the enjoyment that comes with that, I hear it from the fans all the time — that is No. 1 for them. From our standpoint, we look at this as a great moment for us, the tremendous growth and the tremendous popularity of our game.”
One of the key factors contributing to the scoring output is the emphasis on calling defensive holding penalties. The total is up to 36 from 11 through six weeks last season. The increase in roughing-the-passer penalties and eliminating use of the helmet to initiate hits are also important factors.
League officials also point to an influx of talented young quarterbacks. However, scoring could taper off once defenses make adjustments and weather could affect games later in the season.
Here’s a look inside more numbers going into Week 7:
MORE THIELEN: Vikings receiver Adam Thielen has at least 100 yards receiving in each of Minnesota’s first six games this season. Only Charley Hennigan had more with seven in 1961 for Houston. Thielen’s 58 catches lead the NFL and he’s on pace for 155 receptions.
BREEZING UP: Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning’s career record for yards passing last week and now is one TD pass away from joining Manning (539), Brett Favre (508) and Tom Brady (501) in the 500 TD club. The Saints visit the Ravens on Sunday.
CHASING LT: Rams running back Todd Gurley has 11 TDs rushing and receiving. He’s on pace for 29. Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson set the record with 31 in 2006 for the Chargers.
THE KICKING GOAT: Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is 10 points away from breaking Morten Anderson’s scoring record. Anderson had 2,544 points on 565 field goals and 849 extra points. Vinatieri has 2,535 points and already broke Anderson’s record for most field goals. He’s at 570 and counting.
PAT’S STATS: Patrick Mahomes has 18 TD passes in his first seven career games. Only Kurt Warner (21) and Deshaun Watson (20) had more through eight.
BIG PLAY TY: Mahomes’ teammate on the Chiefs, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, already has 14 career TDs of 50 yards or more. Only Gale Sayers (16) and Randy Moss (15) had more before age 25.
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