From draft day the Rookie Of The Year award was between the Colts’ Andrew Luck and Washington’s Robert Griffin III. From the start they have lived up to the billing. I mean take a look at what each of these guys did.
RGIII and Washington took down Dallas in week 17 for their sixth straight win that claimed a Division crown. In those six games, which were, wins over the Giants, Cowboys (2x), Eagles (2x), and an OT win against the title contending Ravens; Griffin accounted for 13 touchdowns while only throwing two interceptions. Add those to the rest of the season, and you have a QB throwing for 3,200 yards (20 TD, 5 INT), rushing for 815 yards (7 TD) at a 6.8 yards per carry clip, while holding a QBR of 102.4. Makes for some tough numbers to bet against.
Now Indy on the other hand, never got too far off coarse en-route to a wild card berth. Luck being the main reason. He made a habit of staying in games all year, and won a fare share in big name player type fashion.
His first victory as a pro in week two at Minnesota, Luck went 47 yards in three plays to set up Adam Vinatieri’s game winner. After Kyle Rudolph caught what looked like the winner with :31 left in the game.
Or, how bout, going toe to toe with Aaron Rogers in week five. Answering a Rogers TD, by hitting Reggie Wayne in the end zone with :35 on the clock to win. Even better, finding the guts to score 14-points in the final 2:39 to beat the Lions, which was capped off by a 14-yard pass to Donnie Avery with zero seconds left.
Even with a QBR (76.5) that ranks 26th in the league, Luck still nearly threw for 4,400 yards (23 TD, 18 INT) and scampered for another 255 (5 TD) on the ground making for a prime candidate for trophy.
But there is one QB that was under the radar and may have made the greatest impact of them all. That would be Russell Wilson. While Luck and Griffin went one and two on draft day, Wilson was selected 75th overall in the third round by the Seattle Seahawks.
Wilson was second on the depth chart to free agent signed quarterback Matt Flynn; who came over from Green Bay for a hefty pay raise and a chance to start. As training camp and the pre-season ensued the decision on a starter become tougher and tougher. Head coach Pete Carroll decided to go with the rookie from Wisconsin.
This turned out to be a game changer, though it didn’t happen over night.
Starting the season .500 (4-4) Wilson hadn’t ran for a touchdown nor broke 28 yards rushing in a game and threw for 10/ 8, TD/INT ratio and suffered losses by no more than six points.
Bring in November. Wilson and the Seahawks start to click; finishing the regular season winners of five straight and seven of their last eight. This included back to back weeks the team posted a 50 spot (vs ARI, @BUF).
Having a top tier defense is going to help, but Wilson turned it up a notch too. He tossed 16 touchdowns to only two picks during the span while running for all 4 of his touchdowns (three in one game). He totaled 3,118 yards passing and 30 total touchdowns in the regular season and had the fourth highest QBR rating (100.0).
As we know in the NFL, the postseason is where you make a name for yourself. That is where Wilson separates himself from the other two quarterbacks.
He beat a torn up RGIII after spotting Washington a 14-point lead in the first quarter. His numbers were average for his standards (15-26, 187, TD). But the eye popping number was his yards per carry (8.4), that nearly doubled his season average. This past week the Seahawks weren’t even in the game down 27-7 after three quarters in Atlanta verses the Falcons. Wilson took over the fourth quarter leading three scoring drives to take a one point lead with :31 seconds left.
Unfortunately the combo of Matt Ryan and Matt Bryant ended the season for the Hawks’, watching a 49-yard field goal sail thru the uprights. Wilson’s desire to win showed up. Posting his best numbers of the season as well as the most yards thrown in a playoff game for a rookie (385). He had three total touchdowns and ran at an 8.6 carry average.
Though the Seahawks lost in the Divisional round, Wilson made a Rookie Of The Year case that is tough to argue. Luck and Griffin may be the flashy picks, but for the true grind out, tough skinned, do it the right way kinda guy pick, Wilson is a no contest. Vote Wilson.
By: RJ Garcea