Two teams that don't have very good defenses (surprisingly for Rams with all the cash laid out - not very good bang for the buck) going against very potent offenses was a recipe for a high scoring game. I never thought it would be that high. There were a total of 7 punts between the 2 teams, so some defense was played to go with 13 penalties for over 100 yards for the Chiefs. But there was overall such a lack of defense that the offenses had relatively little resistance. So in spite of the massive scoring, to me the game was bordering on boring. Everyone is saying what a great game it was, but I didn't see it quite that way. I like to see more of a challenge, or a struggle. Thats just me.
The total offense in that game was about 1000 yards. That’s a lot, but nowhere near a record. There were not only seven punts, but seven turnovers, five of them by Mahomes (I’m not sure, but I’m guessing he’s the first QB in history to have 6 TD passes and five TO in the same game), so defense was not completely absent.
A major reason why the scoring was so high was that neither team ran the ball much (< 100 yards for both), despite having great RBs. Passing generally leads to more scoring, not only because of the larger gains possible, but because the clock is stopped after every incompletion. As I pointed out before, under new rules, passing is favored—that’s why teams do more of it. So much of the high scoring is not a reflection of poor defense, but of the way the game is now set up.
I think people tend to forget that football is a game, which means that the rules can be tweaked to have as much or as little scoring as one wants. QBs are throwing for 5000 yards and 50 TDs in a season now not because they’re better than QBs of earlier eras, nor because defense is poorer, but because the game is played differently now. Under the rules of twenty or thirty years ago, these same teams would have been scoring in the thirties, or possibly even the twenties (because they would have rushed more, chewing up the clock), and there would be a lot fewer complaints about defense.
These things tend to go in cycles. In a low offense era, fans start to complain that there isn't enough action, and the rules are changed to favor the offense. Then scoring happens so often that fans start to complain that it's boring, so the rules are changed to favor defense. In any form of entertainment, when spectators complain enough, the rules are changed. Baseball has gone through such a cycle, e.g., just in this century. Of course, by definition, most games in any sport can't be exciting or dramatic, let alone epic, but I'm not sure how many fans even understand that.
One of the underreported stories of the season is the comeback of Andrew Luck. A few months ago, people were speculating that his NFL career might be over. And now? He’s thrown more TD passes than anyone except Mahomes, and is third in the AFC in QB rating, behind only Mahomes and Rivers.
He’s always had the potential to be the best QB of his generation. The difference now is that he’s finally getting protection (and yes, the new rules help in that regard, but his OL is also better), which means more accurate passes and fewer interceptions. He’s been sacked only ten times this season. The only qualified QB who has been taken down fewer times is Brees, with nine. To put his protection in perspective, Jimmy Garappolo—remember him?—was sacked thirteen times in his brief start to the season.
After a 1-5 start, Indy has won four in a row, and is basically tied with a bunch of other teams for the second WC position. They’ve taken advantage of some really weak teams, like the Bills and the Raiders, but their remaining schedule is quite soft—only Houston has a winning record—so they have a serious shot at the postseason. If they get that far, they could wreak some havoc against favored teams. They’re currently basically tied with the Steelers for the second most points scored in the AFC, a tick under 30 per game, trailing only KC, and only two NFC teams, the Saints and the Rams, have scored more. With a QB like Luck, their offense has to concern any team they might meet in the postseason.