Aaron Rodgers demonstrated Sunday night what Tom Brady showed during his epic comeback victory against Atlanta two Super Bowls ago. If you're going to fall behind big, it helps having an all-time great quarterback to lead you back.
You still might be surprised to learn how infrequently even Hall of Fame-caliber quarterbacks overcome third-quarter deficits like the 20-0 hole Rodgers found himself in before escaping for a 24-23 victory over the Chicago Bears. Brady and Rodgers are 5-16 in those games.
As surprising as the numbers say it was for Rodgers to do what he and the Packers did to Chicago, there were even bigger shocks in this 2018 opening week. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ryan Fitzpatrick channeling 1984 Dan Marino, 1994 Steve Young and 2004 Peyton Manning while embarrassing the New Orleans Saints' defense was one of them.
Some Week 1 surprises were anomalies. Others could be harbingers. Here's a look at which ones I'm buying and which ones I'm selling heading into the rest of the season.
Surprises I'm buying
Jameis Winston really could stay on the bench
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht got everyone's attention when he revealed during preseason that there were no guarantees Winston would return to the lineup after serving a three-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. It might have seemed like a surprising thing for a GM to say, but it was the truth. And after Fitzpatrick shredded New Orleans for 417 yards and four touchdown passes Sunday, the possibility of Winston remaining on the bench became much greater.
"The thing [Fitzpatrick] did down there in New Orleans, that is impressive," a veteran defensive coach said. "Four touchdowns, 417 yards, rushes for a touchdown and runs over the defender at the goal line, then gets the critical first down in four-minute."
Check out the numbers on both quarterbacks over their past four starts with Tampa Bay. Fitzpatrick isn't consistent enough to hold onto a job for the long term, but he could be streaky enough to delay Winston's return to the lineup. And if the Bucs' weaponry is good enough to sustain him deep into the season, what then for Winston?