The Herald Bulletin

September 9, 2013

George Bremer: Uncertainty lone constant in NFL

The Herald Bulletin

---- — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be 1-0 today if linebacker Lavonte David simply had allowed New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith to run out of bounds untouched.

The Cincinnati Bengals also might have won if not for a head-scratching personal foul by linebacker Rey Maualuga that allowed the Chicago Bears to retain possession and run out the clock.

And the New York Giants could still be undefeated at Jerry Jones' glistening football palace if they could have just held on to the football. Six turnovers, including a red-zone interception returned for a touchdown in the final minutes, sealed the team's fate against the Dallas Cowboys.

Anyone that thinks it's possible to predict what will happen each week in professional football is fooling themselves. That's just one of the reasons it's a good idea for Indianapolis Colts fans to take a deep breath and thank the football gods for a 1-0 start.

Nothing comes easily in a league designed for parity.

The Oakland Raiders won just four games last season and gave veteran backup Matt Flynn decent money to try his fortunes as a starting quarterback. But he and the team did not look good together in the preseason, and head coach Dennis Allen turned instead to third-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

In just his second NFL start, Pryor threw for 217 yards and ran for 112 more as the Raiders pushed the heavily favored Colts to the brink at Lucas Oil Stadium. If not for two interceptions, the last by safety Antoine Bethea at his own 6-yard line with 25 seconds to go, Indianapolis likely still would be searching for its first victory today.

Everything from the defenders' physical fitness to head coach Chuck Pagano's job security has been questioned in the wake of the Colts' great escape. And there are good reasons to be wary.

Anyone looking for proof Indianapolis won't be the team that hoists the Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 2 in East Rutherford, N.J., doesn't need to look hard to find it. There are 32 teams in the NFL, and 31 of them won't celebrate under the confetti after the final game of the season.

The odds are ever in detractors' favor.

Just don't fall into the trap of believing anything that happens one Sunday will mean much for the next.

Every week in the NFL is a season unto itself. Teams gameplan specifically for one opponents' weakness, then move on to the next. There's a reason the cliche "one game at a time" is so popular.

The weaknesses Indianapolis put on film against the Raiders this week will haunt the team until they're fixed. But no two weeks in the NFL tend to play out the same way.

For now, the Colts are one of 16 champions from Week 1. Whether that fills you heart with joy or fear, fret not.

A new season begins Sunday against Miami.