|Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was outstanding Sunday. (US Presswire)|
Here are some of the notable -- and not so notable -- rookie performances in Week 12.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks QB: He doesn't always wow us in the same way Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III might, but Wilson might be more consistent than any other rookie quarterback in the league this season. He's not usually tremendous, but he's usually steady. Though the Seahawks passing offense is statistically one of the worst in the league, Wilson was fantastic vs. the Bears, winning in Chicago and completing 23 of 37 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns (along with 71 rushing yards on nine carries). But he saved his best for last, engineering a 97-yard game-tying drive with less than 4 minutes to play in regulation, and then, in overtime, he nailed Sidney Rice for the game-winning touchdown to put his team in control of a postseason berth. Grade: A
Andrew Luck, Colts QB: Though he looked like his normal, potential rookie-of-the-year self early in the game, Luck struggled for much of the day, throwing three horrendous interceptions (he finished the day 23 of 54 for 391 yards and four touchdowns, as well) and helping put his team in a 12-point hole early in the fourth quarter. But with 2:41 to play, he threw a nice 41-yard touchdown pass to LaVon Brazill to make it a one-score game, and then, on fourth-and-goal with 14 seconds to play, a scrambling Luck found Donnie Avery for a 14-yard game-winning touchdown. Luck was less-than-great Sunday, but he was clutch when he needed to be. Grade: B
Brandon Weeden, Browns QB: Traveling the entire length of the country and beating Oakland isn't easy for Raiders opponents to accomplish -- well, it's not as difficult now as it used to be -- but Weeden did exactly that, completing 25 of 36 passes for a career-high 364 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Oakland has lost six-straight games now and it's one of the worst teams in the league, but Weeden's performance is still noteworthy. Grade: B
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins QB: The game was close (the Patriots won by six), and New England's Tom Brady had a rare off-day. This was a game that, with a solid Tannehill performance, Miami could have pulled off the upset. Instead, Tannehill was inaccurate all day, and he finished 13 of 29 for 186 yards. Tannehill did show some athleticism, running for a 2-yard touchdown late in the first half, but overall, he was a disappointment Sunday. Grade: C-
Ryan Lindley, Cardinals QB: If I could grade Lindley's performance with something other than a letter grade today, I would give him an “Ugh.” With Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez unable to stop himself from throwing interceptions, Lindley might have been worse, completing 10 of 31 passes for 71 yards and an interception. I don't know how Arizona expects to win when the Cardinals start Lindley at this point in this career, but maybe Ken Whisenhunt should figure out if there's anybody else who could take the Arizona starting quarterback spot. Grade: D-
Other rookie performances of note:
Whitney Mercilus, Texans LB: The No. 26 overall pick had his best game as a pro (in his first career start, no less), recording two sacks on Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick and recovering a fumble for the victorious Texans. He's now got three sacks in his past two games.
Jonathan Martin, Dolphins OT: When Miami left tackle Jake Long had to leave the game with a triceps injury, Martin, the second-round pick, moved over from his right tackle spot. The Dolphins reportedly are worried that Long's injury will keep him out the rest of the season, and if that's so, Martin will get an extended tryout to see if he can replace Long full-time.
Harrison Smith, Vikings CB: The Packers tried some trickery, as Aaron Rodgers handed off to Randall Cobb, who ran left and then turned around and fired a lateral to Rodgers, who threw it down the field for Greg Jennings. Unfortunately for Green Bay, Rodgers threw into double coverage and Smith was there to intercept the ball. He also finished with 11 tackles.
Greg Zuerlein, Rams K: Earlier in the game, Zuerlein had missed a 58-yard field goal wide right, but he nailed a 53-yarder to tie the game vs. the 49ers and send it to overtime. Then, in the extra period, he smoked a 54-yarder to avoid another St. Louis-San Francisco tie and give his team the upset victory.
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