The NFL season is already almost a quarter of the way through. Certain teams are meeting preseason expectations and some players are already in peak form. Other franchises and athletes, however, are coming out of nowhere and shocking everyone. From dark-horse teams to resurging players, these are some of the biggest surprises of the NFL season so far.
1. Adrian Peterson rushes past Jim Brown
Casual fans may not know that former NFL superstar Adrian Peterson was still on a team, let alone scoring touchdowns. But it took just one yard for Peterson to break his tie with Jim Brown and secure the fifth spot on the all-time list. The aging running back needs four yards more to pass Walter Payton for fourth on the list. As a role player, Peterson is not guaranteed this feat, but he’s embracing a smaller role in the twilight of his career.
2. The ‘new’ Cleveland Browns are disappointing
Many believed the Browns’ new young core, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr., and Jarvis Landry, would make them one of the most exciting teams to watch this season. The beginning of this era, however, proves to be anything but exciting. The Browns began the year 1-2, with the only win against the hobbled Jets. The season is still young, but the less-than-stellar start is concerning.
3. The Colts look good
Following the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck, many people wrote off the Colts for the upcoming season. However, the team seems to have used this as motivation as they enter the season, winning two out of the first three games. New Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett recently spoke about Luck reaching out to him during this start, saying that the retired star has been giving him words of wisdom and encouragement.
4. Here come the Niners?
The San Francisco 49ers seemed to be going downhill since the rise of Colin Kaepernick. But, for the first time since then, they appear ready to win. The team went 3-0 through the first few games. Jimmy Garoppolo seems to be recovering nicely from the injury that cost him most of last season. It’s still early, but could Niners Nation be on the rise once again?
5. Andy Dalton’s strange start
Patrick Mahomes’ monstrous lead over the rest of the NFL with 1,195 passing yards through three games should not surprise anyone who’s kept up with the young quarterback’s career. More interesting, however, is the fact that Andy Dalton is second with 978 yards.
Although Dalton has been good enough to throw the ball for the Bengals since 2011, he’s never been considered a premier passer. Unfortunately, the Bengals are struggling despite Dalton’s ability to get the ball downfield.
6. Quarterbacks are cursed
While Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady are performing as fans expect, there’s been an early wave of injuries. Benching has swept the position. Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Nick Foles, and Sam Darnold have all gotten hurt in the first three weeks. While Eli Manning’s benching in favor of Daniel Jones may not be a surprise, the earliness that the Giants enacted the move could be a surprise to many.
7. Baltimore is on a tear
Many wondered if Lamar Jackson could keep up with the success he saw last year. While his arm remains in question, the Baltimore Ravens are still dominating on the offensive end. The team leads the NFL in scoring through three games with 36.7 points per game. This is a whole point-and-a-half higher than the New England Patriots in second place.