Week 6 Rookie Report Card: Rooks Post an Impressive 4-1 Record
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: October 15, 2012
Congratulations are due to the 2012 rookies after a 4-1 Week 6 effort. Each of the four victorious quarterbacks earned passer ratings that have landed them in the top twelve with just two quarterbacks yet to play. Let’s take a look at the decision-making and big plays that resulted in such a successful week for the youngsters.
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns: 231 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
Was Weeden the most dynamic rookie this week? No. Did he put up the best stats? Not by a long shot. But Weeden helped Cleveland earn its first win in twelve tries on Sunday with a victory over Cincinnati, all while celebrating his 29th birthday. I have one nit to pick with Weeden, who performed admirably in his first-ever NFL victory: on a third down in the third quarter, as Cleveland was mounting its comeback, Weeden attempted to run for a first down but slid about two yards shy of the marker. Defenders were closing in on him and fighting for extra yardage would almost certainly have resulted in a bruising blow, so it was technically the smart play. But even with the increased emphasis on player safety, players still respond to (and respect) a warrior mentality, and Weeden had an opportunity to show his teammates, fans and opponents that he was prepared to scratch, claw and fight for a victory. And fight (and win) he ultimately did, so that may have something to do with why he’s playing football and I’m writing about it.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: 293 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
Russell Wilson didn’t need any bogus calls to secure Sunday’s come-from-behind victory. And he didn’t rely on Marshawn Lynch’s 41 yards, either. In unfavorable, rainy conditions, Wilson passed for three impressive touchdowns and helped issue New England its third loss of the season, while accumulating the second-highest passer rating of the week (behind Aaron Rodger’s six-touchdown career night). This game was crucial for Wilson, as his recent turnover issues have left many questioning his aptitude as a starter. The rookie silenced the Patriots and critics alike with his confident play, executing two scoring drives in the fourth quarter, including a gorgeous 46-yard pass to Sidney Rice in the end zone. No simultaneous possession that time.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: 182 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception
Concussion? What concussion? RGIII returned from last week’s head injury to start on Sunday, and many (myself included) thought he would make some adjustments in his run-happy approach to the game. Griffin responded with 138 yards on the ground, by far the most rushing yardage of his young career. 76 of those yards came on a huge touchdown run late in the fourth quarter, halting a furious Minnesota comeback bid and securing Washington’s first home victory of the season. I try to avoid superlative as much as possible, but I’ve been trying to think of anything this young star can’t do… and I’m drawing a blank. He’s just so good. As long as he stays healthy, the Redskins will always have the opportunity to win games.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: 185 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
Miami had a rough day on Sunday, rushing for just 19 yards and running only 49 plays to St. Louis’s 69. Almost all stats favored the Rams except key misses by their rookie kicker and penalty yardage, but the Dolphins were able to hold on for a win behind the competent execution of Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill continues to make the best out of a mediocre situation, highlighted this week with his 29-yard touchdown throw to receiver Marlon Moore. (No. I’d never heard of him either. Maybe because he’s tallied nine receptions in three seasons.) Tannehill’s mobility continues to be a cause for minor concern, but as long as he’s holding onto the ball, the Dolphins are in good hands. Pun intended.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: 280 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Luck was coming off the best performance of his month-long career in an emotional comeback victory last Sunday, and in New York yesterday he came down. Way down. A Jets defense that has been all but absent since the first week of the season harassed Luck and the Indianapolis offense all four quarters. Antonio Cromartie followed up Monday night’s stellar work with a career performance; he nullified receiver Reggie Wayne’s presence on the field and would have had three interceptions, had two pick sixes not been negated by flags. Luck struggled yesterday, but that doesn’t diminish his potential as an elite quarterback. He will continue to develop as a franchise quarterback, but the mere fact that he is surrounded by a cast of characters capable of just two wins in 2011 will mean sometimes he’ll have bad games.
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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