Week 5 Rookie Report Card: Luck Comes Back, Cousins Makes Debut
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: October 08, 2012
In this edition of the Rookie Report Card, three rookies claimed victory, while the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year went down with an injury.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: 362 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
This is precisely what the Colts anticipated when drafting Luck first overall. Trailing 21-3 at the half, Luck and the Indy offense came to life. In a game dedicated to ailing head coach Chuck Pagano, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia, Luck maintained poise in the face of an 18-point deficit. In addition to his 362 yards passing (212 of which were accrued by Reggie Wayne), Luck rushed for 24 yards (second-most on his team) and a touchdown. This is the third time in four games Luck has successfully navigated a scoring drive in the waning moments of a game, and the second time that his efforts secured a victory.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: 223 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
Luck wasn’t the only rookie leading his team to improbable victory this weekend. Tannehill performed adequately during the Dolphins’ visit to Cincinnati, earning a 92.3 passer rating, his highest to date. Ongoing support from running backs Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas (both of whom notched touchdowns in the win) along with an ever-improving Dolphins defense have aided in Tannehill’s emergence. His feet are an ongoing concern; when the pocket collapses, he fails to keep plays alive. He was sacked twice and attempted four runs and lost a yard on each attempt.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: 221 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions
When cornerback Captain Munnerlyn returned a Wilson interception for Carolina’s first (and ultimately sole) touchdown of the game, it looked as though the Matt Flynn debate would only grow in intensity. Wilson kept his cool and relied on his defense, as he has done all season, and kept his team in position to win. And as long as Wilson continues doing just that, he should feel secure in his place as starter.
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns: 291 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
In spite of what his team’s record may suggest, Weeden has made marked improvements over the past month. His most pressing need, a reliable receiver, may finally have been addressed this weekend. Rookie receiver Josh Gordon caught just two passes, but both were long touchdown grabs. The Giants secondary continues to struggle, so it may have been an aberration, but Gordon’s apparent ability to create separation could help Weeden eventually secure his first win as an NFL quarterback.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: 91 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
RGIII suffered a head injury early in the second half when his helmet collided with Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon as both were running out of bounds. Reports suggest Griffin experienced concussion-like symptoms (unable to relay what quarter the game was in or the current score) as well as a chin laceration. The biggest concern with Griffin in his short career has been whether he can maintain his health, as he often defers to his feet to make plays. As the most vital part of the Redskins offense, Griffin’s health is of the utmost importance. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins: 111 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions
Cousins, drafted in the fourth round of this year’s draft, surpassed Rex Grossman as the Redskins’ number two quarterback. He saw his first playtime this weekend after Griffin left the game with a head injury. Cousins’ career began admirably, as he orchestrated a scoring drive, topped off with a touchdown pass to Santana Moss to start the fourth quarter. Two ill-timed interceptions ultimately doomed the Redskins to their third defeat on the season. Despite the two turnovers, Cousins acquitted himself well in his debut. Redskins fans would undoubtedly prefer to see Griffin on the field, but shouldn’t fear Cousins as a backup.
Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She is an avid fan of sports in general, but the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @arahomik
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