This is the year defensive coordinators really earn their pay.
Through two weeks of the 2011 season, touchdowns are on a record pace and the 13-10 defensive slugfest is rapidly becoming a fading memory.
Atlanta coach Mike Smith is trying to shine a light through the defensive darkness after NFL clubs put up 1,502 points and 172 touchdowns in the opening two weekends.
"This is a little bit different,'' Smith said, "because usually defenses are a little bit ahead at the beginning of the season. We'll have to see if that trend changes, but right now, scoring points is at a level that I don't think has ever been seen.''
It's no secret that each year the league's competition committee seems to come up with a rule or a point of emphasis that favors the offense. The latest pet project is geared toward protecting defenseless receivers who are in a vulnerable position while attempting to make a catch.
Quarterbacks already have a safety net thrown around their shoulder pads in an effort to minimize debilitating injuries to the game's glamour position.
Speaking of the men under center, Smith says they've never been better.
"The quarterback play in this league, I've never seen it as deep at it is from 1-32,'' Smith said. "There's probably in my mind, 10 to 15 guys that you would consider to be playing at the elite level. That has a lot to do with why scoring is up – quarterback play has just been outstanding.''
It's no surprise New England's Tom Brady is the NFL's top-rated passer or that Drew Brees of New Orleans and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers are off to torrid starts.
Intriguing are all those new names on the list of quarterbacks carving up secondaries with disdain.
The new wave has landed – and arrived with big guns.
Detroit's Matt Stafford is healthy and looking dangerous. Kevin Kolb is living up to the hype in Arizona and Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick is suddenly leading the league's top-scoring attack.
Cincinnati rookie Andy Dalton is off to an impressive start, Cam Newton is setting rookie passing records in Carolina and veterans such as Oakland's Jason Campbell, Washington's Rex Grossman, Tennessee's Matt Hasselbeck and Dallas' Tony Romo are putting up solid numbers.
Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman showed signs of joining the party last week while guiding a big second-half comeback at Minnesota.
You've got to figure defenses will have their say before long.
While Smith emphasizes the stellar quarterback play around the league, my focus is on the men paid handsomely to generate heat.
Only five clubs enter Week 3 with more than six sacks as spread formations and quick passing attacks gain popularity from Seattle to Miami and all NFL points in between.
Even the 2-0 Patriots can't buck the trend, yielding an average of 8.9 yards per pass attempt. The Pats have already given up 16 completions of at least 20 yards heading into today's road matchup against Fitzpatrick and the Bills.
"He's accurate, he gets rid of the ball quickly and he's smart,'' New England coach Bill Belichick said of Fitzpatrick, a Harvard grad. "He recognizes the defensive alignments and he's able to take advantage of them.''
And as the numbers suggest, he's not alone.