The Washington Times-Herald

Indianapolis Colts

January 2, 2013

Banner year for rookie quarterbacks

INDIANAPOLIS — It's been quite a year for rookie quarterbacks in the National Football League.

Three have led their respective teams in the NFL playoffs -- Indianapolis' Andrew Luck, Washington's Robert Griffin III and Seattle's Russell Wilson. Griffin's Redskins won the NFC East. Luck's Colts and Wilson's Seahawks finished a strong second in both of their divisions (AFC South and the NFC West).

Indianapolis and Seattle both knocked off their division's eventual champions -- Houston and San Francisco -- in convincing fashion. The Colts (Green Bay, Houston, Minnesota), Redskins (Minnesota, Baltimore) and Seahawks (Green Bay, New England, Minnesota, San Francisco) have all secured wins over other playoff-bound teams.

Wins? Luck and Wilson guided the Colts and Seahawks to 11-5 marks. Griffin's Redskins totaled a 10-6 record.

Stats-wise, take your pick. All very similar. Luck completed 339 of 627 passes for an NFL-rookie record 4,374 yards, 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He also rushed 62 times for 255 yards and five touchdowns.

Griffin, meanwhile, connected on 258 of 393 passes for 3,200 yards, 20 TDs and five interceptions while rushing 120 times for 815 yards and seven touchdowns. Not to be outdone, Wilson has been successful on 252-of-393 passes for 3,118 yards, 26 touchdowns (tying Peyton Manning's rookie record) and 10 interceptions. He rushed 94 times for 489 yards and four TDs.

And all three will be playing Sunday as Indianapolis travels to Baltimore in an AFC wild-card game while Seattle and Washington will be squaring off in an NFC wild-card game.

It should prove to be quite an afternoon of football. Only five rookie quarterbacks have ever won a playtoff game (Shaun King, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez and T.J. Yates).

Who's the best? When it comes to Luck, Griffin, and Wilson, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The best overall package with a chance for longer-term success? Probably Luck. Best combination of athletic skills with football savvy? Griffin is your guy. An overachiever who plays much bigger than he is? That would be Wilson.

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