2020 finishes as highest-scoring season in NFL history

2020 brought new challenges to all involved in the NFL. What didn’t seem to be a challenge, though, was scoring.

The 2020 season finished with a total of 12,692 points scored, the most in NFL history. The total also obliterated the previous high-water mark by more than 700 points, shattering the former scoring peak of 11,985 set in 2013 and finishing as the first season over 12,000 points, per NFL Research.

With a lack of an offseason program and preseason, there was plenty of understandable concern about the quality of football in the upcoming season. Fortunately for those who enjoy points on the board, that effect only seemed to impact the defensive side of the ball.

Standouts in the scoring department included Aaron Rodgers’ 48 passing touchdowns, Josh Allen’s lead role in Buffalo’s explosive offense — which boosted that final scoring total with a 56-point outing in Week 17 — and Derrick Henry, who scored the second-most rushing touchdowns (17) in a 2,000-yard season in history (Terrell Davis took 21 rushing trips to the end zone in 1998). Tom Brady threw 40 passing touchdowns, the oldest player to do so and only the second to throw 40-plus passing touchdowns with multiple teams (Peyton Manning is the other, because of course he is). Allen accounted for 45 touchdowns on his own (37 passing, eight rushing), helping Buffalo finish as the league’s No. 2 scoring offense, trailing only Rodgers’ Packers.

Nine teams averaged 28 or more points per game in 2020, and all nine of those squads made the playoffs. Nos. 10, 11 and 13 (Las Vegas, Minnesota, Arizona) missed the postseason, while Nos. 12 and 14 (Pittsburgh and Cleveland) both made the playoffs, with the latter riding its improved offense to its first trip to the postseason since 2002, ending the league’s longest drought.

Offense was king in 2020, even with less reps together to sharpen those routes and timing. Is this a sign of things to come, or just a rare occurrence in the strangest of years? We’ll have to wait until we kick off 2021 to find out.

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