Poorly performing offenses result in the NFL's lowest-scoring week since 2014



Poorly performing offenses result in the NFL’s lowest-scoring week since 2014

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The NFL witnessed a week of underperforming offenses this past weekend, marking a level of ineffectiveness not seen in nearly a decade. Even superstar quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen struggled to muster 20 points in their respective games. Meanwhile, dominant defenses for the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets managed to stymie high-powered offenses from San Francisco and Philadelphia. Across the league, young quarterbacks faced their own challenges.

As a result, the NFL experienced its lowest-scoring week since 2014. The average score for teams throughout Week 6 was a meager 18.4 points, the lowest since Week 15 of the 2014 season when teams averaged 18.2 points. In fact, only two teams, Miami and Jacksonville, managed to score at least 27 points, marking the lowest such occurrence in any week since the 1995 season.

Furthermore, a remarkable 23 teams were held to 20 points or fewer, a record high for any week in NFL history. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs could only muster 19 points in their win over Denver, marking his second victory this season without reaching the 20-point threshold. Prior to this, Mahomes had won only three starts without his team scoring at least 20 points in his first five seasons as a starter.

The Buffalo Bills defeated the New York Giants 14-9, marking their fewest points in a win since Josh Allen’s rookie season. Eight other teams also secured wins without scoring more than 21 points, including the Cleveland Browns in a 19-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Jets in a 20-14 win against the Philadelphia Eagles. A total of 10 winning teams scoring 21 points or fewer tied a record not seen since Week 13 of the 1993 season.

The main culprit behind these offensive struggles was poor passing production, with teams collectively achieving a passer rating of 78.6, the lowest since Week 14 of the 2016 season.

In a surprising turn of events, the 1972 Dolphins got to celebrate the end of the undefeated teams a little earlier than usual this season. Both San Francisco and Philadelphia lost to backup quarterbacks P.J. Walker and Zach Wilson, respectively, marking the first time since 2017 that every team lost at least once in the first six weeks. This unique situation resulted in these two teams tying with Kansas City, Miami, and Detroit for the best record in the NFL at 5-1. It was the first time since Week 11 of the 1993 season that the Lions held at least a share of the best record in the NFL this late in the season.

Amidst the offensive struggles across the league, the Miami Dolphins remained a shining exception. They beat Carolina 42-21, accumulating a remarkable 223 points for the season. Only five teams in NFL history have scored more in the first six games. The Dolphins achieved this through both passing and rushing, joining the 1958 NFL champion Colts as the only teams to have at least 15 touchdowns via runs and passes in the first six games of a season. Running back Raheem Mostert was a key contributor, scoring 11 of those touchdowns, more than 11 teams have managed as a whole this season. Additionally, Tyreek Hill’s 814 receiving yards for the season were second only to Don Hutson’s 819 in 1942.

On the other hand, the New York Giants struggled to score, exemplified by their 14-9 loss to Buffalo, which included drives ending on the 1-yard line in each half. The Giants became only the third team in the last 13 seasons to go three consecutive games without an offensive touchdown. This marks the second time in the Super Bowl era that the Giants have endured such a streak, with the last occurrence happening in 1976 when they went four games without an offensive touchdown. New York’s two touchdown passes are the fewest through six games since the 2009 Raiders had only two with JaMarcus Russell at quarterback. Moreover, the Giants are the first team since 1998 to score no offensive touchdowns in the first half of their first six games.

In a strange twist, the game against Buffalo saw the Giants reach the 1-yard line twice without scoring on either occasion. The last time a team achieved this without scoring was when the Broncos did it in the 2022 opener against Seattle last season. Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams both lost fumbles to end those drives.

The Buffalo Bills managed to win their game against the Giants despite being held scoreless in the first three quarters. This marked the second time this season that a team secured a comeback win after being shut out at home in the first three quarters, with the Green Bay Packers achieving a similar feat in an 18-17 win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 3. This phenomenon had not occurred in the previous 10 seasons. The last time the Bills won a home game after being held scoreless in the first three quarters was during a replacement player game in 1987 when they beat the Giants 6-3.


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