The NFL is always full of surprises, it’s just the nature of the sport of football. Upsets occur, injuries happen, and players can go from bust to breakout in a matter of just a few games.
The opening week of the 2017 season was no exception. There were quite a few notable moments as teams opened the year, with the Cleveland Browns putting up a fight against the Steelers, David Johnson dislocating his wrist, and 2016’s worst offense (the LA Rams) scoring 46 points being just a few. However, the most shocking development of the week (outside of the Dolphins-Bucs postponement) was easily the Jacksonville Jaguars utter destruction of the Houston Texans.
I’ll admit, I had the Texans winning this one in a low scoring matchup that featured two top tier defenses. However, the Jaguars thoroughly outplayed their competition in this contest. The former AFC South champion Texans had everything going for them heading into this game: a dominant defensive line going up against a weak front five, an improvement at the quarterback position (although not a big one) after jettisoning Brock Osweiler to the Browns, and most importantly, they were facing a quarterback who just barely kept his starting job after showing ineptitude all preseason.
Somehow, in a bizarre turn of events, the J.J. Watt-Jadeveon Clowney combo managed just two tackles, the entire Houston defensive line couldn’t come up with a single sack, and Blake Bortles played an entire game without throwing a single interception. In fact, it seemed as though Jacksonville went out of their way to do their best impression of what the Texans should have been, as they piled up a whopping 10 sacks.
Then, to make a strange game even stranger, Tom Savage was pulled from the starting position and Deshaun Watson was sent in to replace him. In my opinion, that was a poor decision on head coach Bill O’Brien’s part. Throwing a rookie quarterback into a game in which his team has almost no change of coming back and his offensive line has shown a complete inability to protect the quarterback is a recipe for a disaster. In reality, it’s probably one of the best ways to hurt your rookie’s confidence moving forward.
This week, we’ll get to see a better sample size of what Watson can do with a full game’s worth of snaps as he takes on the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday, while the Jaguars will hope to keep their dominance going against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
If opening weekend showed us anything, it’s that the 2017 season will be full of twists and turns, and that NFL fans will be thoroughly entertained.