CHICAGO, IL- SEPTEMBER 09: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts leaves the field after the game against the Chicago Bears on September 9, 2012 during their 2012 NFL season opener at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Bears defeated the Indianapolis Colts 41-21. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
It's the Monday after the Week One games. Prior to today, everyone felt their team had a chance to, maybe, make the playoffs.
IF certain things fell into place.
IF so-and-so stays healthy.
IF this rookie or that free agent produces big time.
After the Sunday games, all those ifs seem to go out the window, and people start to freak-right-the-hell-out!
- The Chiefs got blown out at home against the Falcons, and even witnessed their one-time favorite player, Tony Gonzalez, dunk on them after a touchdown
- The Titans got blown out at home
- The Dolphins, Colts, and Bills got blown out on the road
- The Saints and Giants looked terrible in their debuts
However, despite all the craziness that happens in Week One, it doesn't always translate into continued success throughout the regular season. In fact, "OVERREACTION MONDAY" is now somewhat of a meme around the NFL, its teams, and the media that covers them.
Unless your team won in a blowout, the fanbase is most likely restless and just a tad bit irrational.
Now, obviously, everyone wants to start out fast. No team enters Week One thinking they will lose, and all coaches, ALL OF THEM, want to start strong. However...
- Last year this time, the Eagles and Rams played a game in St. Louis. Many people expected both teams to win their respective divisions. Neither did. In fact, neither made the playoffs. The Rams went 2-14 while the Eagles started the season 2-4 before finishing 8-8.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers were pounded by the Baltimore Ravens 35-7 in Week One of 2011. Pittsburgh went on to win 12 games after that.
- The NY Jets opened 2011 with a big win at home in primetime over the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas had a 24-10 lead going into the fourth quarter, and then proceeded to implode courtesy of a blocked punt for a touchdown and a boneheaded INT thrown by Tony Romo. After the thrilling win, the Jets collapsed and finished the season 8-8.
- The Buffalo Bills opened their 2011 season with a 41-7 beatdown of the Chiefs in Arrowhead. They went into their Week Seven bye 4-2, including a Week Three victory over the New England Patriots. After the bye, they won just two more games the rest of the season.
Consider all these when you read Monday morning headlines proclaiming the greatness of Team A and the downfall of Team B. Recall that, in Week One of 2011 against the Chiefs in Arrowhead, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw four touchdowns passes with zero INTs, and everyone RAVED about Buffalo's new savior. Fitzpatrick went on to throw 23 picks last year. I'm not suggesting someone like Robert Griffin III will have a similar collapse after his surprise performance against the Saints in NOLA. I'm just providing some context, some perspective.
This is a long season that, strangely, goes by very quickly. The hero one week is the goat the next.
The same perspective is needed with the Colts. Yes, Andrew Luck did not play as well as Peyton Manning or RG3 did in their 2012 debuts. Does that mean he sucks? No, of course not.
Does Chuck Pagano's defense giving up over 400 yards and 41 points to the Bears automatically mean it sucks? No, but I think concern is warranted. Concern and "OMG! THE DEFENSE IS COMPLETE DOG DO-DO FART SANDWICHES!" aren't the same thing.
Other areas like the offensive line, Adam Vinatieri's kicking, depth at wide receiver, and the poor play of the corners also fall in the concern column. However, that doesn't mean things are in the toilet. The toilet was last season, when it was obvious that the front office had no plan for Peyton Manning's neck injury; that the QB position was a mess; that the defense was outdated and old; that the special teams were an embarrassment.
This year's blowout loss wasn't like last year's, or the one the year before. So, let's not freak out too much. Let's see this play out a bit.
That said, if you want to join me in saying that players like Donald Brown and Jerry Hughes are completely lost causes, hop on board. We're running out of room.