Led by the passing of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady, NFL teams set a record for points with 11,356, averaging 44.36 per game in the 2011 season.
The final game of the schedule, a 31-14 Giants win over Dallas to clinch the NFC East, was right at that average as the 32 teams surpassed the 11,283 points of 2010.
The average was second to 1965, when teams scored 46.12 a game.
Green Bay’s 560 points were second to the 589 New England scored in 2007, its undefeated regular season. New Orleans had 547 points, fourth all-time.
Brees and the Saints led a slew of NFL record setters this season.
Brees shattered Dan Marino’s 27-year-old mark of 5,084 yards passing by throwing for 5,476. He had 468 completions this season, breaking Peyton Manning’s 2010 mark of 450. He finished the season completing 71.6 percent of his passes, breaking his own 2009 NFL record of a 70.6 completion percentage.
Brees also surpassed 300 yards passing for the seventh straight game and 13th time this season, both beating NFL records he already held.
The Saints set several single-season records, including offensive yards with 7,474, team yards passing with 5,347 — sacks yardage reduces the total — and first downs with 416. Darren Sproles had an NFL-record 2,696 combined yards, easily breaking the previous mark of 2,690 set by Derrick Mason with Tennessee in 2000.
New England’s Brady finished the regular season with the second-most yards passing ever, 5,235.
Brady’s teammate, Rob Gronkowski, set the single-season record for tight ends with 1,327 yards receiving after gaining 108 on eight catches in a 49-21 win over Buffalo. That broke the mark of 1,310 set earlier Sunday by Jimmy Graham of the Saints. The previous mark of 1,290 was set in 1980 by Kellen Winslow of the San Diego Chargers.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick became the only coach in NFL history with at least 13 regular-season wins in five seasons.
Rob Bironas made a 43-yard field goal for the Titans, extending his own NFL record by kicking a field goal of 40 yards or longer for the 10th consecutive game.
The Raiders set records for penalties and yards penalized by committing eight for 64 yards Sunday in a 38-26 loss to San Diego that kept them out of the playoffs. That gave them 163 penalties for 1,358 yards, surpassing the totals of 158 for 1,304 set by the 1998 Chiefs.
San Francisco finished with 10 total turnovers, which equaled the 2010 Patriots for fewest in NFL history.
Green Bay’s 15-1 record was the best in that storied franchise’s history. The Packers are the sixth team to win 15 games in a season, and Rodgers’ quarterback rating of 122.5 broke Manning’s single-season mark of 121.1 set in 2004.
Minnesota dropped to 3-13 with a 17-13 loss to Chicago, matching the worst record in franchise history, set first in 1984.
This was the 16th consecutive season that at least five teams made the playoffs after failing to do so the previous year. In this season are Denver, Houston, San Francisco, the New York Giants — all division winners — plus wild cards Cincinnati and Detroit.