Week Seven QB Rankings:
1) Robert Griffin III - 20/28 (71.4%) - 258 yards - 9.2 YPA - 2 TDs - 1 INT
2) Brandon Weeden - 25/41 (61.0%) - 264 yards - 6.4 YPA - 2 TDs - 0 INTs
3) Andrew Luck - 16/29 (55.2%) - 186 yards - 6.4 YPA - 0 TDs - 0 INTs
4) Russell Wilson - 9/23 (39.1%) - 122 yards - 5.3 YPA - 0 TDs - 1 INT
Long live the king. Well, at least he's the king if you buy into the recent nonsense that has popped up lately about Griffin being a candidate for MVP. He has, however, established himself as the cream of the crop so far this year among rookie quarterbacks. He led yet another valiant display in a near upset bid of the defending Super Bowl champs, but unfortunately was undone by his defense giving up a touchdown pass late to Victor Cruz. Still, Griffin shined in the defeat even without Fred Davis for most of the game and left several Giants' defenders wowed by his performance, as evidenced by the comments some of them gave to reporters afterwards. He did have one misstep on the interception to Stevie Brown towards the end of the third quarter, but on the whole Griffin was exemplary once again, and appears to be on his way to long career as long as he stays healthy.
I'm not entirely sure why the coaching staff of the Browns refuse to help out their rookie quarterback. I understand that he's much older than your typical rookie, but that still is no excuse for Brandon Weeden to have the third most attempts in the NFL after seven weeks. He's thrown a whopping 272 passes, behind only Tom Brady and Drew Brees, and more often than not it has failed to be a recipe for success. This past week Weeden made it work though, as he wasn't sacked, didn't throw any interceptions, and threw for a pair of touchdowns in a losing effort. That last part could've been changed too if Josh Gordon hadn't done what Cleveland Browns receivers do and dropped the go-ahead touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. This was by far the best game of Weeden's young career up to this point, and it should offer hope to Cleveland fans that haven't had that feeling in a long time, that just maybe Weeden could end up being their guy after all.
Staying in the same game and flipping to the other team competing, Andrew Luck helped lead the Indianapolis Colts to victory over the Browns by playing decently enough. It's easy to compare Luck to Griffin and say that the Colts may have made the wrong choice, but it's hard to fault Luck for having to work with a much worse supporting cast than Griffin has, and I agree with the recent New York Times article
that says Luck and Griffin have had comparable seasons despite the disparity in their surface numbers. It was a similar outing to last week for Luck in terms of his performance while under pressure as opposed to not being harassed in the pocket. Without pressure he was 13/21 (61.9%), but under pressure he was just 3/8 (37.5%) and was sacked three times. Luck's offensive line is quite porous, but when he actually has time to throw, he's been every bit as good as advertised coming out of college.
We want Flynn!! We want Flynn!! Yeah, Russell Wilson had some of his passes dropped at key moments, but on the whole it was a performance that offered little to no inspiration. It was ugly from start to finish against against the 49ers, and while you do have to remember that San Francisco is home to one of the best defensive units in the league, it brought up a lot of questions in regards to Wilson's future in the NFL as a starting quarterback. Specifically, the "rainbow" arc that his passes take through the air. That is going to be something that is extremely difficult to remove from Wilson's game. Because of his size, that's a motion that he has to use in order to prevent his passes from getting routinely swatted down at the line of scrimmage by players much bigger than him. The offense hasn't thrived under Wilson, and when the defense gets absolutely gutted like it did by the 49ers running game, it seems obvious that Wilson will struggle to lead his team from behind.
Rookies who Shined:
- It's been a workman-like year for Doug Martin
, who has put in a solid rookie year for the Buccaneers if nothing else. He has exactly 100 attempts and is averaging 4.1 YPC. This past week he took full advantage of getting to run through the nonexistent defense of the Saints, carrying the ball sixteen times for a total of 85 yards (5.3 YPC) and a touchdown. If that wasn't enough, 79 of those yards came after contact, so it isn't as if he was just running through huge holes opened up by his line all day. He also forced nine missed tackles and chipped in 37 yards as a receiver as well. Martin doesn't get much attention due to the impressive rookie year so far by Trent Richardson, but he's been a solid young contributor for the Buccaneers this year and figures to be a piece in their offense for years to come.
- Here at the FP Rookie Report, we like to acknowledge when a player who has struggled to perform in the past turns it around and puts in a strong showing, even if it may just be a fluke for one week. Well this week we have a player that fits the profile perfectly. Andre Branch
lost his starting job with the Jaguars due to poor performance, but coming off the bench he shined, notching two hurries and two hits on Carson Palmer while playing just 23 snaps rushing the passer. I still firmly believe that Branch is being wasted playing as a prototypical 4-3 defensive end, but maybe he can survive long enough in the role by coming off the bench as a pass-rushing specialist in the mold of Carlos Dunlap of the Bengals.
- You may not have heard his name mentioned much this year, which is surprising considering the unexpected success his team has been experiencing, but Matt Kalil
has been a big contributor to the winning ways of the Vikings so far. He's yet to give up a sack protecting the blindside of Christian Ponder, and has only been flagged one time all season. He had a clean sheet this past week in pass protection, which is not the hardest job in the world when facing the Cardinals, but he won his individual match-ups with Calais Campbell, which is a rather difficult task. Even in the area he's struggled in this season, run blocking, he excelled. On runs for Adrian Peterson behind left tackle and left end, he accumulated 46 yards on only five carries and scored his sole touchdown of the day running that way too.
Morris Claiborne - CB - DAL, Kevin Zeitler - G - CIN, Mike Adams - OT - PIT, Michael Brockers - DT - STL
Rookies who Faltered:
- We really have to stop meeting like this Bobby Massie
. I don't like to keep reusing the same players over and over again in this article, but when you play as badly as Massie does, there's really just no way around it. Facing a very formidable pass-rusher for most of the day in Brian Robison, Massie gave up two sacks and a ghastly nine hurries to just reaffirm how bad he is, in case anybody forgot. He played decently enough blocking the run, and maybe even with time he could develop into a viable starter at right tackle, but for now, he's just fun to pick on.
- Speaking of trying to highlight new players every week in the Rookie Report, the Buffalo Bills deliver for me in the form of wide receiver T.J. Graham
. Starting opposite of Stevie Johnson now, the third round pick out of NC State has failed to make an impact thus far. That was most evident against the Titans where he failed to get much separation, and got just one target in the passing game despite being sent out on a route 31 times. To his credit, he caught the one ball thrown in his direction for six yards, but the Bills can't afford to have negative production like this if they want to remain viable in the hunt for a playoff spot.
- Simply put, for the second week in a row, Janoris Jenkins
was simply terrible. He was targeted eleven times by Aaron Rodgers, and he allowed nine receptions for 121 yards in addition to giving up a touchdown to Randall Cobb. James Jones worked him over for five receptions totaling forty yards, and Jordy Nelson did the same by grabbing all three passes thrown his way while Jenkins was on him, racking up 76 yards in the process. After a strong start it's been a rough two weeks for Jenkins, and one would hope that it's just a rookie taking his lumps, and not a sign of things to come.
Mitchell Schwartz - OT - CLE, Chandler Jones - DE - NE, Corey White - CB - NO