I was contemplating what we have witnessed through the first four weeks of the 2017 NFL season. There have been some really surprising developments across the league, wrap you head around this: the Buffalo Bills (3-1), “Sacksonville" Jaguars (2-2), & LA Rams (3-1) all lead their respective divisions. Those teams were a combined 14-34 last year. My jury is still out on those three teams, but here are 4 things I know for sure:
Kareem Hunt is everything we thought & hoped he would be. The rookie running back sensation & Toledo alum, leads the NFL in both rushing yards (502), yards from scrimmage (659), and is 2nd in touchdowns with 6 (Todd Gurley 7). The NFL rushing record & yards from scrimmage by a rookie is held by former LA Rams RB Eric Dickerson who ran for 1,808 yards back in 1983 & finished with 2,212 scrimmage yards. ( 1,808 rushing, 404 receiving). The rookie record for touchdowns scored? Gale Sayers, in 1985, scored 22 total. Kareem is on pace for 2,008 rushing yards, 2,636 yards from scrimmage, & 24TDs (it’s fun to contemplate). We thought, watching him run for 4,945 yards at UT, that he could play on Sundays. Drafted in the 3rd round with the 86th pick, we hoped he would make an impact. Well, he’s playing on Sundays & he’s made more than an impact, our guy is the talk of league!
The New England Patriots defense has some SERIOUS issues. Look, I understand Tom Brady is still the QB in New England, but that defense is atrocious. The Pats D is so bad that, well, look at this chart (via MMQB)
Yes, the New England Patriots defense has turned their opposing QBs into Tom Brady! The opposing QBs you ask? Alex Smith, Drew Brees, Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton. Not a bad list at all, but eventually you have to get a stop or you’ll end up… 2-2.
The Detroit Lions are better than your mind will allow you to believe. I can hear you now “Bellino, you’re a homer”. Trust me, I’m in as much disbelief as you are. The Lions are 3-1 & their defense has allowed just 70 points against (tied for best in scoring defense in the NFC, the other is Carolina, who Detroit play’s at home on Sunday at 1pm). The Lions have already won 2 road games, including a Monday Night primetime game, & in games that the offense struggled to move the ball or put points on the board, it’s been the Motor City Muscle on the defensive side that has really opened some eyes.
The “Battle for LA” is over. One month into the season & we already know Los Angeles belongs to the Rams (3-1), NOT the Chargers (0-4). NFL fans know moving the Rams & the Chargers, from St. Louis & San Diego, was a complete money grab by the league. The Chargers played 1 AFL season back in 1960 in Los Angeles, before moving to San Diego. They had been in San Diego from 1961 until 2016, NEWS FLASH - they should have stayed in San Diego.
Anthony Bellino is the host of “The Fox Sports Morning Blitz”, weekday mornings from 7am-9am on Toledo’s Fox Sports Radio 1230 & 1230foxsports.com/listen