While the 2017 NFL season has only just begun, there have been a lot of surprises already. If you would have told me coming into the season that two hurricanes would have such a huge impact on the start of the NFL season, and that one of them would result in two teams having to play 16 straight games for the first time in over 15 years, I wouldn’t have believed it. Tampa Bay and Miami both received a week 1 bye in anticipation for Hurricane Irma.
If you told me that the defending champion New England Patriots would host their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs and blow a first half lead with a second half meltdown — a narrative that should be all too familiar for the Patriots after their huge comeback in the Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons — I would have never believed it. Yet, the Patriots defense allowed rookie runner Kareem Hunt and second-year budding star Tyreek Hill carve them up. The Patriots offense started yielding pressure once the Chiefs smelled blood in the water and Tom Brady started to look a little more like a 40-year-old quarterback.
If you told me that the Jacksonville Jaguars would blow out the Houston Texans in Houston with Blake Bortles as their starting quarterback, I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet, rookie rusher Leonard Fournette rushed for 100 yards and the Jaguars exited Week 1 as the stingiest defense in the NFL — yielding only 203 total yards.
The Ravens going to Cincinnati and shutting out the Bengals? Yeah right. How about the Cleveland Browns playing a close game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, losing by only 3 point after out-scoring the Steelers 11-7 in the second half? Not a chance. Or, the Eagles traveling to Washington to beat the Redskins by 13? I didn’t see that coming either.
If you told me that after the first week of football there would be 3 rookie running backs in the top 5 in rushing yards, and 4 rookies out of the top 10. If you told me that Alex Smith and Sam Bradford would lead the NFL in passing yards. If you told me that WR Adam Thielen in Minnesota and TE Austin Hooper in Atlanta would be included in the top 5 receivers by yards. I wouldn’t have believed any of that.
What about the Colts?
If you told me right after it was announced that Andrew Luck had shoulder surgery that he would enter the season without any meaningful timetable for his return, I wouldn’t have believed it. If you told me that Stephen Morris would outplay Scott Tolzien for a second-straight preseason only to be cut, I wouldn’t have believed it. If you told me that the Colts would trade former first-round wide receiver Phillip Dorsett to the New England Patriots for a quarterback, I wouldn’t have believed it.
If you told me that after week 1, the Colts defense would lead the league in rushing yards per attempt, I wouldn’t have believed it. If you told me that the Colts would lose to the Rams by more than five touchdowns, I wouldn’t have believed it. If you told me the Colts would give up 46 points in their season opener and that the Patriots defense would be the lowest ranked team defense in the league after surrendering 537 total yards, I wouldn’t have believed it.
If you told me that rookie running back Marlon Mack would take his first NFL reception to the house for a touchdown only to be ruled down short of the end zone, and that his head coach would not throw a challenge flag when the replay clearly shows that he got in, I wouldn’t have believed it.
If you told me that the Colts would draft three defensive backs in the 2017 NFL Draft and not only start none of them, but start second-year converted safety T.J. Green over second-year cornerback Quincy Wilson, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you told me that the Colts would use a fourth round draft pick and make one move in free agency to address their offensive line and that both of those players would be cut before the season started, I wouldn’t have believed it.
If you told me that during training camp the Colts would lose their former first round starting center and former pro bowl veteran starting cornerback, on top of still missing franchise quarterback Andrew Luck to start the season, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you told me that the Colts would draft four offensive linemen in 2016, that three of them would end the 2016 season as promising starters, and that none of them would start in the 2017 season opener, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Needless to say, there have been a lot of surprises already in 2017. The Colts have definitely had their share of them and the NFL at large has certainly not been immune to them either. With only one week of football in the books, what else does this season have in store for football fans?