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It was a mixed bag for the NFL's rookie quarterbacks in Week 6, except for RGIII who was phenomenal.
Mike Shanahan's shady handling of RGIII's concussion last week is going to get the Washington Redskins an official reprimand from football czar Roger Goodell. I'm sure the Redskins are very concerned, doing everything they can to choke back tears of laughter while the NFL Commissioner slaps them on the hand. Why should they care? Robert Griffin III was absolutely brilliant on Sunday, leading his team to a much-needed win over the Minnesota Vikings, and doing most of the heavy lifting with his legs.
Last week, when Griffin took a shot to the head from Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, a worried nation wondered if the prodigal young quarterback should be running that much. Foolishness. If the Redskins just wanted a quarterback to stand in the pocket or run the occasional option, they didn't need to send so many first-round picks to the St. Louis Rams. Without his wheels, RGIII is just Ryan Tannehill, not that there's anything wrong that.
After Washington's win this week, I didn't hear much hand-wringing over RGIII running the ball. A crowd of long-suffering fans at FedEx Field in suburban D.C. sure weren't complaining about their quarterback running the football, not when he did this:
I can't say with any authority if this is a designed play or not. To me, it looks like RGIII gets the ball and finds his receiving options covered up by the Minnesota defense. He gives it the cursory look, and finds a hole through the defense, looking every bit like a running back instead of a running quarterback.
That touchdown put Washington up 24-10 in the third quarter.
Minnesota fought back, narrowing it to a one-possession game with just under four minutes left in the game. Then RGIII did it again, breaking off a 76-yard touchdown run that will someday be immortalized by NFL Films in the guy's career highlights package. It was also a fine moment for clowning. Just watch.
I believe the kids call that "going ham." Like the last scrambling touchdown, he sees his opening in the middle and goes for it. I could comment on how the Vikings get caught with six men rushing the passer on third-and-six, but I think it pretty much speaks for itself. RGIII will burn the blitz with skills like that.
Further up the Atlantic seaboard, Andrew Luck, last week's quarterbacking hero, was having a bipolar downswing, administered by the schizophrenic New York Jets. Rex Ryan's defense shut down Luck, sacking him four times and picking him off twice.
From Stampede Blue:
Following their bye week, the Colts made an epic second half comeback to win an emotional game over the Packers. And then the next week, they laid an egg in New York. Yeah, it has been a roller coaster type year for the Colts, but really, what did we expect?
Throughout it all, the one constant has been that Andrew Luck would play well. Even week one in Chicago he made quite a few very good plays and topped 300 yards passing. Today, however, he struggled. Today, he looked like a rookie. I mean, I guess if that is what we say when he has a terrible game, he must be pretty good. And he is.
Like last week, Luck and RGIII were another reminder of the typical ups and downs that come with being a rookie quarterback on a rebuilding team.
Rookie quarterback power rankings, Week 6
1. RGIII -- Is there any doubt that he won the week in rookies?
2. Russell Wilson -- We were starting to wonder about the little quarterback that could after last week. Seattle's quarterback struggled for two weeks in a row, throwing five interceptions and just one touchdown. This week, he led his team to an upset over the Patriots with 293 passing yards and three touchdowns.
3. Ryan Tannehill -- Nothing the Dolphins rookie did jumps out of the box score and grabs you, but he was efficient and effective, throwing a pair of touchdowns when he needed to in order to beat the St. Louis Rams. Especially impressive was the way he handled pressure.
4. Brandon Weeden -- The Browns finally got a win this season, beating the Bengals thanks in part to the connection developing between their 29-year old rookie quarterback and his fellow freshman, receiver Josh Gordon. The pair combined for one of Weeden's touchdowns this week and now have three scores together in the last two games.
5. Andrew Luck -- A pair of interceptions marred the top pick's day out in New Jersey. This was one of those weeks where the lack of talent around Luck, particularly on the other side of the ball, was painfully evident. But the rookie made his share of mistakes, missing Coby Fleener twice on a crucial drive.