Week 8 Rookie Report Card: Andrew Luck, Comeback Kid?
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: October 30, 2012
The rookies went 3-2 this weekend, with two losses occurring in spite of valiant efforts on the part of the young quarterbacks.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: 297 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception
Luck has continued to demonstrate poise far exceeding his experience as an NFL starter, as he finally notched his first road win as a professional. In overtime at Tennessee, he guided his team down the field to toss his first touchdown of the game. With that game-winning drive, his league-high third of the season, Luck has begun to establish himself as the rookie whose brilliant performances haven’t just raised his profile. His play has lifted his team to a winning record (4-3) and two more wins through eight weeks than Indianapolis earned in the entire 2011 season.
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns: 129 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
Weeden may not have put the Browns on his back in Week 8, but he managed the efficiently so that an early touchdown from fellow rookie Trent Richardson (and his fourth-best 122 yards rushing) was all the offense Cleveland required to post its second win of the season. As underwhelming as Weeden’s performance appears, his four-time Pro Bowl opponent Philip Rivers threw for just twenty-five more yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: 18 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
Miami’s decisive victory over the Jets in New York was thrilling, but through no accomplishment of Tannehill. The rookie went down early in the first quarter with an apparent leg/knee injury. Monday’s MRI showed no structural damage, but significant bruising in his quadriceps muscle as well as a bone bruise in his left knee. Backup quarterback Matt Moore has proven himself to be an adequate second option throughout his NFL career, but the Dolphins will be hoping Tannehill is able to take the field against Indianapolis this weekend.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: 236 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
After several weeks marked by iffy performances by the Seattle rookie, he was decisively not to blame for Sunday’s meltdown in Detroit. With a touchdown strike at 5:27 left in the fourth quarter, Wilson put his team in a terrific position to earn the road win; it was the Seahawks’ heretofore stout fourth quarter defense that fell victim to the Lions’ late game heroics. Wilson has proven his ability as a starter in the NFL, but has yet to cement himself with week-to-week consistency.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: 177 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions
If that blatant push-off was any indication of Griffin III’s abilities as a receiver, it’s a good thing he went the quarterback route. The Steelers’ defense, wet weather and slippery hands of Redskins’ receivers conspired to render Griffin III as inefficient as he’s been all season, which may have contributed to head coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to approve a desperation trick play that saw Washington’s future at quarterback attempt to catch a pass deep in Pittsburgh’s secondary. As one would anticipate, safety Ryan Clark seized the opportunity to lower a sizable boom on the young quarterback. Griffin III committed offensive pass interference, failed to catch the ball and could have been knocked out of the game. Washington’s coaching staff must be more hesitant to place their young superstar in harm’s way. Perhaps the most impressive stat was RGIII’s eight rushing yards, particularly in light of rainy conditions and a game-long case of the dropsies among Washington receivers. Pittsburgh’s defense, which had struggled to stop the run through the first six weeks of the season, held the Redskins to 86 total yards on the ground. Rookie Alfred Morris posted 59 of his own in his second-worst performance of the season (the first of which occurred against Minnesota and was assisted by RGIII’s 138 rushing yards in the same game).
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: @KimOHaraTFG
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