This article is part of our Football Draft Kit series.
Isn't it great when statistics confirm our casual observations? Maybe you noticed that NFL defenses, with apologies to the Bears and a few other teams, generally seemed overmatched last season. The impressive quarterback statistics were hard to miss, and if you were really paying attention you might've noticed the efficient play wasn't limited to passing.
The 2018 campaign produced all-time highs in league-wide completion percentage (64.9), passer rating (92.9), yards per play (5.6) and yards per carry (4.4), while yards per pass attempt (7.4) and passing touchdown percentage (4.8) reached levels last seen in the 1960s when short throws were still a novelty. At 23.3 points per team game, scoring fell a hair shy of the league record from 2013 (23.4) — a difference of just 33 points over the course of the season.
An increase of 1.6 points per team game from the previous year was the largest since 1994, representing a full rebound (and then some) from the outlier season of 2017 in which offensive efficiency took a noticeable step backward for the first time since 2005. The 2017 downturn was at least partially inspired by an unusual number of high-profile QB injuries, with Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson and Carson Palmer combining for 20 starts. In 2018, Jimmy Garoppolo and Joe Flacco were the only Week 1 starters to miss more than six games, and Cam Newton was the only top-10 per-game fantasy QB to miss time (two weeks) because of an injury.