The folks at the NFL are gloating. It's hard to blame them.What they apparently want Youth Anthony Walker Jersey , judging by the continual emphasis on making things easier for offenses, is points. And more points.Big plays, especially in the passing game. They'll take lengthy runs, too.Oh yeah, and more points.Through four weeks of the schedule, the 3,030 points scored were the most in NFL history, easily surpassing the 2,986 in 2012. There were 62 more in the Thursday night game to begin Week 5.The 344 touchdowns are the most through Week 4, a dozen ahead of the 332 in 2015. There were eight TDs in New England's 38-24 victory over Indianapolis on Thursday.Six touchdown passes came in that game, three by Tom Brady and three by Andrew Luck. Add those to the 228 through a quarter of the season (minus Carolina and Washington, which have played three games each) that were 23 more than the 2013 record."I think it's always tough to say what the reason is for the increased production," says Rams coach Sean McVay, whose team is a major reason for the rise in scoring. Los Angeles (4-0) has scored 140 points 鈥?35 a game 鈥?and isn't even lighting up the scoreboard the most. Kansas City, also 4-0, is with 145."I do think some of the rules, in terms of trying to protect the players that are built towards safety and things like that, do often times favor the offense, especially in some of those passing situations. Really, each week you kind of look Womens Nate Hairston Jersey , it's kind of an up-and-down thing. I think when you really look at it over four weeks, that's a small sample size so it always tough to say."Or not.McVay is on the right path. Protectiveness for quarterbacks has been carried to such a level that even seemingly textbook hits 鈥?yep, yours that drew flags, Clay Matthews 鈥?are penalized. Receivers already have a huge advantage because of rules that practically allow them to run free beyond 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. The revised catch rule, which was desperately needed, bolsters the offense, too.Defenders are, well, always on the defense, most notably when they are asked to such things that challenge physics as not to land too hard on a quarterback."I think it's something that we need to get to, but as we're in transition we've gone too far," Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Greene told SiriusXM Satellite Radio. "And I think that all the better heads in football will get together and pull back on this. Because there is no way we're going to be able to defy gravity. If a greater force is hitting a lesser force, there's a good chance the greater force is going to go on top of it and fall on it. And you can't stop it unless you do some kind of gymnastic trick and flip your body over and you become the guy that's underneath, or on the side. And that's just something that's not going to happen."There are other key factors that don't have much to do with rules, yet so overwhelmingly favor the offense.With the advent of spread offenses in college, receivers are getting an almost immeasurable increase in action. The days of running the ball 70-75 percent of the time in college are long gone, replaced in some conferences by passing numbers in that vicinity. While the routes those young receivers are taught are limited compared to the pros, they still provide a stronger foundation for them as they reach the NFL.Quarterbacks, of course, benefit from all of that. They might not be well-versed in reading complex defensive schemes http://www.thecoltsfootballauthentic.com/quincy-wilson-jersey-authentic , but they are well-rehearsed in putting the ball in the air.Compare that to the days of 3 yards and a cloud of dust attacks.The huge uptick in offense even has some roots in high school. Gil Brandt, who helped build the Dallas Cowboys into a powerhouse and consults with the NFL in running the draft, cites all of the 7-on-7 drills and camps those teenagers attend."The passing game comes natural to them now," says Brandt, a 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame nominee. "They're throwing year round."Even when things get sloppy, the scoreboards still get filled. That's how Brady saw things in the victory over Indy in which New England made several mistakes on offense."It's really not about those things to me," the five-time Super Bowl champ said. "It's about points. And the turnovers, those keep you from scoring points. If they're gonna guard deep, you've gotta throw it where they're not. So ultimately we gotta score more points. ... We scored 38 which is great. But we have more in us."Same thing, it seems, for just about every team.AP freelancer Bob Schron contributed. Beginning in the early 2000s and lasting for more than a decade, the matchups between Peyton Manning's Colts and Tom Brady's Patriots were must-watch matchups.From their three AFC championship games, to the six regular-season MVP awards Brady and Manning captured during that span, quarterback play was the centerpiece of the rivalry.Manning's departure from Colts and Andrew Luck's arrival in 2012 ushered in a new era in Indianapolis. But so far Luck hasn't been able to duplicate the success that his predecessor had against the Patriots.In five starts against New England, Luck has yet to notch his first victory against Brady.Luck is hoping to change his fortunes on Thursday night, when his comeback tour stops in New England."Certainly (in) my experience, we have come up on the short end and that's not fun," he said. "Obviously, we would like to turn that around. We would like to flip the story in a sense. But growing up I remember some of those great games, certainly that AFC championship game here. So yeah http://www.thecoltsfootballauthentic.com/braden-smith-jersey-authentic , I do think I have an appreciation for it."But on a team that has had a significant change in the roster over the past two seasons, the rivalry hasn't been exactly the hottest topic around the locker room."A young roster, just not as much talk about it," said Colts coach Frank Reich, who saw some of those big games up close when he started his coaching career.Perhaps that's because Indy has lost seven straight games in the series.Things heated up again in February when Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels reneged on his verbal agreement with Colts general manager Chris Ballard to become Indianapolis' new head coach."The rivalry is back on," Ballard said as he left a news conference to announce the new search had begun.But the Colts (1-3) have started slowly since Luck returned to action after more than a year away following shoulder surgery.The Patriots (2-2) also had a modest start to the season, but may be turning a corner coming off a dominating 38-7 win over the Miami Dolphins .Thursday is expected to mark receiver Julian Edelman's season debut after he served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancers.It's just in time for Brady, who has struggled at times this season without a dependable receiver to go to on third down.Edelman, who has been with the Patriots since 2009, also set out the 2017 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the preseason."I think we've played so much football together, I really have no doubt where he's going to be at, what he's capable of," Brady said. "He's been a great player for our team. I think everyone's excited to have him back, and anytime you add great players, it's going to help what we're doing."Here are some things to watch for in Thursday's game:FINAL CHAPTER?New England gave kicker Adam Vinatieri his NFL start back in 1996 when he beat out veteran Matt Bahr for the job.Thursday night could be his final appearance in Foxborough, Massachusetts.Though he's on the cusp of breaking Morten Andersen's career scoring record and has shown no indication he's slowing down, the reality is the 45-year-old Vinatieri signed a one-year contract during the offseason and there's no assurance the Colts could be heading back to New England any time soon. Indy won't play another round robin with the AFC East until 2022.Not that the four-time Super Bowl champion has given it much thought."It very well could be. I guess every game could be your last game you know," he said. "I just haven't thought that far ahead."GRONK ON THE MENDPatriots TE Rob Gronkowski left in the second half of New England's win over Miami after aggravating an ankle injury. He did not participate in the Patriots' first practice of the week Tuesday.Brady has had trouble getting the ball in Gronk's hands over the past three games. He's had just 10 catches for 110 yards and no touchdowns over that span. Gronk has only one touchdown reception on the season.MILESTONE WATCHWith a victory, Brady (225 wins) can tie Vinatieri (226) for the most wins by a player in NFL history. Brady enters the game three touchdowns shy of 500 regular-season touchdown passes. He trails only Manning (539) and Brett Favre (508).AP Sports Writer Mike Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this report.
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