7:30 AM ET
Kevin SeifertNFL Nation
Close ESPN.com national NFL writer ESPN.com NFC North reporter, 2008-2013 Covered Vikings for Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1999-2008
Perhaps you remember the offensive explosion of 2018. Teams were scoring at a record pace, mostly because of highly efficient passing attacks and a reimagined role for running backs.
The NFL rejoiced and the television ratings went up and the world was saved until … it all hit a wall in Week 14.
In a little-discussed epilogue, the 2018 breakthrough softened considerably in the final four weeks of the season. Pace slowed across the board, leaving most NFL records intact and prompting questions about what it means for 2019. Did defensive coaches and schemes catch up? What about factors like injuries and weather, long cited by coaches as impediments to late-season offensive efficiency? And will the league rebound in 2019?
Fans of offensive innovation should rejoice in knowing that six of the league’s seven new head coaches come from offensive backgrounds. Their arrival raises the total of coaches who will call their own plays to 17, an increase of 21% from 2018 as teams focus on offense from the top down. But