Robert Griffin III has proven in the first week of NFL play that he is at the top of the class among active rookies thus far. The most recent Heisman trophy recipient, Griffin III led the Washington Redskins to a 40-32 upset against the New Orleans Saints, an impressive debut for the 22-year old from Baylor University.
Griffin III, in his first match-up against a defamed Saints team (see “bounty program”), outshone New Orleans’ golden boy Drew Brees, completing 19 of 26 passes and throwing for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns, a completion percentage of 73.1% compared to Brees’ 46.2% with 3 TDs and 2 interceptions. Though Griffin III came up against a Saints team missing one of its key defensive players, the young QB took advantage of defensive holes and was unwavering in setting a steady game rhythm, helping the Redskins score 10 points per quarter and ultimately leading his team to a first week record of 1-0.
Griffin’s underdog victory places him a step above fellow rookie QB Andrew Luck, who in his debut with the Indianapolis Colts completed 23 of 45 passes (51.1%) throwing for 309 yards with 1 TD. Luck, who the Colts chose #1 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, struggled against a Bears defense that picked off the rookie quarterback not one, not two, but three times.
The Redskins chose Griffin III as the number #2 overall pick in the draft, right behind Luck, and it seems the schoolyard taunt “First is worst, second is best” fits quite well, for now at least.
But granted that Luck has some big shoes to fill, stepping in for former franchise face Peyton Manning, Griffin III’s victory against a recent Super Bowl team in the Saints puts him at #1 over Luck in the rookie rankings this week. Though Luck has lived up to all the hype, the #1 overall pick needs to prove it during the regular season.