ALAMEDA -- Andrew Luck's retirement caught everyone off guard.
Two weeks before the start of the season, Jacoby Brissett went from talented backup to franchise quarterback, and got paid as such. The Colts haven't been derailed by Luck's departure, though, as Brissett has led them to a 2-1 start through three weeks ahead of Sunday's Week 4 matchup with the Raiders at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has been impressed with how Brissett has stepped up after Luck's abrupt exit, knowing how hard it is to go from presumed backup to starter on short notice.
"It reminds me so much of -- now he didn't retire -- but of my rookie year," Carr said Wednesday. "Like, going into Week 1, I still was like, 'OK, I'll play someday.' I played in the preseason because I thought we were just resting [Matt Schaub] and his elbow, and then all of a sudden I come in and they're like, 'Hey, you're starting.' Oh, sweet. Rex Ryan, New York Jets. That'll be awesome, you know? The first start, when the whole time it's been, "OK, I'll play someday in the future.'
"You can't hide the excitement as a competitor," Carr continued turning back to Brissett. "So I'm sure he was excited, but you feel for your teammate. I'm sure he feels for Andrew. Like, Andrew didn't want to retire, right? His body had enough. Trust me, there are a lot of guys in the locker room who as soon as they retire, they're like, 'Man, I understand.'
"Going through all those injuries, that's not fun. Especially internal injuries. That's different. You feel for them, but at the same time you're excited, and again, football is a team sport. So I'm sure his teammates just put their arms around him and said, 'OK, let's roll.'"
Brissett started 15 games for the Colts in 2017 when Luck missed the entire season and had been preparing with the first-team offense all of camp as Luck tried to fight his way back to full health. So, he wasn't entirely caught off guard by being handed the keys to the offense. Still, Indianapolis' resiliency has been impressive.
The Colts were able to absorb the body blow of losing Luck, which is a credit to head coach Frank Reich, Brissett and the leadership core Indy has. Having a backup quarterback with starter talent, of course, didn't hurt.
"They did a good job getting Brissett," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. "Not a lot of teams have a superstar quarterback retire who can turn the ball over to a guy like this. You know, Brissett is a winner. He's a heck of a player. He's getting paid well, too. He's not your average Dayton Flyer like me. I mean this guy is a hell of a player.
"So I don't want to underestimate him at all. He has done an excellent job."
The Raiders sit at 1-2 after the Week 3 drubbing they suffered at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings. Now, they'll travel to Indianapolis to face a Colts team that has rallied around Brissett and believes they still are the best team in the AFC South even without Luck.
A loss Sunday could send the Raiders' season down the drain early, so they'll have to fluster Brissett and the Colts to try to steal one on the road.
Flustering this Colts team? Easier said than done.