This week's two Rookies of the Week entered the game overshadowed by other first year players. Strong performances, however, certainly caught my attention and helped their clubs gain victories.
Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman has relied on rookie wide receiver Mike Williams all year long, but it was the "other" rookie wideout who was the big playmaker for the Bucs this past weekend.
Arrelious Benn , a second round pick out of Illinois, enjoyed the best game of his career, catching four passes for 122 yards and also contributing an end-around run for another 17 yards. Benn was held out of the end zone, but just barely as he was tackled at the one yard line by Washington safety Kareem Moore after a 43-yard reception in the 4th quarter put the Bucs in position to take the lead.
Benn made an even bigger play in the second quarter, when he beat Washington's best corner, DeAngelo Hall, deep for 64 yards, putting the Bucs in position to score their first points (a Connor Barth field goal) of the game.
The Bucs beat the Redskins 17-16 in large part due to Benn, whose 122 receiving yards led all receivers.
The Arizona Cardinals' Daryl Washington was selected only eight spots later on draft day and, like Benn, he played a key role in his team's victory Sunday.
While the loss of quarterback Kurt Warner and wide receiver Anquan Boldin has appropriately received plenty of attention, many league insiders felt that Arizona might have a tougher time replacing versatile linebacker Karlos Dansby who signed with Miami as a free agent.
The athletic Washington has a ways to go before one can say he's "replaced" Dansby, but his versatility was on display in the Cardinals surprisingly easy 43-13 victory over Denver.
Washington's speed and agility were on display throughout this game. He helped contain Knowshon Moreno, one of the NFL's hottest backs in recent weeks and was just as effective in coverage. His interception and return 40 yards for a touchdown of Kyle Orton in the closing minutes of the game, in fact, put an emphatic stamp on the game.
For all of the talk about Arizona's new find at quarterback (rookie John Skelton), Washington was the rookie whose play was most instrumental in the Cardinals getting their 4th victory of the season.