The National Football League is setting scoring records because of pass-happy offenses and slow-starting defenses. A less obvious reason may be the league's replacement officials.
The 1,556 points scored this year are the most through the first two weeks of an NFL season, and Las Vegas oddsmakers are projecting another record-setting output in Week 3.
With the regular officials locked out in a labor dispute, the backups culled from lower collegiate levels have called 43 pass-interference penalties. That's a 79 percent increase over the average of 24 for the same period from the previous three seasons.
NFL scoring has been on the upswing in recent years. The previous record of 1,502 points through the first two weeks was set last season, breaking the mark of 1,442 in 2002.
Only four of the NFL's 32 teams ran the ball more than they passed it last season, and quarterbacks Drew Brees of the Saints, Tom Brady of the Patriots and Matthew Stafford of the Lions all topped 5,000 passing yards. Previously, only two quarterbacks had 5,000-yard seasons — Brees in 2008 and Dan Marino in 1984.
Last season, the average over-under total — where bettors wager the total score of a game is higher or lower than the sports book's projection — was 43.7 points a game. This week, the average expected point total is 46.1.
The 738 combined points projected by Vegas for Week 3 is a record for a single week.
Around the league
Jets: All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis was cleared Thursday for contact in practice for the first time since suffering a concussion in the team's season opener.
Coach Rex Ryan was optimistic about Revis' chances of playing Sunday against the Dolphins in Miami, but is leaning on the team's doctors before saying the cornerback will definitely be on the field.
Browns: Browns president Mike Holmgren wants to patch things up with Jim Brown.
Holmgren plans to meet with the Hall of Fame running back in the next few days, hoping to repair their relationship which fell apart two years ago when Brown was relieved of his duties as an advisor to owner Randy Lerner. Holmgren said he has reached out to Brown, who has told the team he will take part in alumni activities this weekend.
Brown was so stung by Holmgren's decision to change his role with the club that he boycotted a ceremony in 2010, when the Browns unveiled a ring of honor inside their stadium, a permanent display instituted by Holmgren. Brown's absence — he was one of 16 Browns Hall of Fame members enshrined — overshadowed the event.
Brown will be on the field for a halftime ceremony Sunday as former Browns Ernie Green and Clarence Scott are inducted into the team's legends club.