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NFL Week 2: Grading the rookie quarterbacks

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer
Luck earned the first victory of his NFL career. (AP)

Five rookie quarterbacks all played the second games of their careers Sunday. All but Robert Griffin III improved from Week 1. Here's what happened with the NFL freshman QBs in Week 2 of their rookie seasons.

Andrew Luck: Though Luck said this week he isn't thinking about a budding rivalry between himself and Griffin, RG3 clearly outshone Luck last week. After all, there was no popping trend called “Lucking.” But playing in his home opener vs. the Vikings, Luck showcased his escapability -- he deftly avoided at least three sacks in the first series -- and he finished the game 20 of 31 for 224 yards and two touchdowns. He threw a 30-yard touchdown pass at the end of the first half, and though Christian Ponder and Minnesota had a nice comeback to tie the game with 31 seconds to play, Luck completed two passes for 40 yards to get his team in field goal position, which eventually won the Colts the game. Grade: A-

Brandon Weeden: If we're grading quarterbacks based simply on the way they improved over last week, Weeden would get an A+++. He was terrible vs. the Eagles last week, and frankly, he looked like he didn't belong in the NFL, much less being drafted in the first round. But vs. the Bengals, Weeden was much better, continuing to lead his team to scores after the Bengals continued to hound the Browns defense. Weeden (26 of 37 for 322 yards and two touchdowns) got some help from Trent Richardson, who looked outstanding, and at the end of the third quarter, he took a pass from Weeden and broke four tackles inside the 10-yard line to score. But Weeden deserves credit as well. Maybe he's not destined for the Arena Football League after all. Grade: B+

Russell Wilson: He played without his left tackle Russell Okung, but Wilson was effective enough. He wasn't outstanding, completing 15 of 20 passes for 151 yards and a score, but he was solid and seemed a little more comfortable than he was last week. Most of Seattle's damage came on special teams, where the Cowboys were truly awful early in the game, but Wilson also threw a pretty 22-yard touchdown pass to Anthony McCoy that gave Seattle a 20-7 lead in the third quarter. That's two pretty good performances by Wilson in his first two games. Grade: B+

Reed came up with his 10th career interception vs. the Bengals. (AP)

Ryan Tannehill: Last week, Tannehill looked nothing like the confident whippersnapper who had beaten out Matt Moore for the starting job when he tossed three interceptions vs. the Texans. But he was a monster vs. the Raiders, completing 18 of 30 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown. On his first series of the game, he helped Miami to a 12-play, 80-yard drive and he scored his first NFL touchdown by running it in from two yards out. Tannehill didn't have to be great -- and Oakland's Carson Palmer was better statistically -- because Reggie Bush was so good. But Tannehill certainly showed improvement, and that should give the Dolphins plenty of optimism. Grade: B

Robert Griffin III: Was he as dynamic as he was last week? No, that was probably an impossibility (though if anybody could do it, RG3 probably could), but Griffin (20 of 29 for 206 yards, one touchdown, one interception) wasn't quite as good. He threw his first pick of his career with less than a minute to go in the first half, and he lost his battle with Sam Bradford despite RG3 rushing for two touchdowns. He was hurt badly in the fourth quarter by a wide-open bomb that was dropped by Aldrick Robinson, and the team missed an opportunity to go 2-0 (with the Cowboys and Giants also losing, it would have been nice for Washington to be tied with Philadelphia for first in the NFC East). With 2:40 to play, the Redskins took over on their 37-yard line, losing by three and with no timeouts left, but Griffin was killed by Josh Morgan's inexusably-stupid unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and Washington lost. Grade: B-

Overall, a big improvement by almost everybody in the second week of their careers. And why is that?



For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.

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