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Tale of the Tape: Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III, Week 2

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer


The comparisons are inevitable. Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2012, and No. 2 pick Robert Griffin III will be scrutinized throughout the season, and probably throughout their careers, unless one of them does his best Ryan Leaf impersonation. And RG3 always will be looked at through a prism of Luck. That's why we're compiling all the most important stats for every game they play this year, and some of the most unimportant aspects of those contests as well. This way it'll be easier to tell who is his team's savior and who should be forced to join JaMarcus Russell in the corner away from the rest of civilization.

Week 2: Luck's Colts scored their first win of the season with a 23-20 victory against the Vikings. Griffin's Redskins disappointedly lost 31-28 to the Rams.

Passing stats

Luck: 20-34, 224 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions

Griffin: 20-29, 206 yards, one touchdown, one interception

Rushing stats

Luck: Four carries, 21 yards

Griffin: 11 carries for 82 yards, two touchdowns

Longest play from scrimmage

Luck: The Colts had just been penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, pushing back what had been a nice game-opening drive, when Luck faked a handoff and threw a 41-yard pass to Donnie Avery that put Indianapolis inside the 5-yard line.

Griffin: While last week's 88-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon was more a product of Garcon making a tough catch over the middle and then making a long run to the end zone, Griffin showed off his arm strength on a 68-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson.

How many sacks impressively avoided on first series of game

Luck: 3 (zero times sacked, touchdown scored)

Griffin: 0 (one sack to end the series and one run of minus-four yards)

Best play

Luck: Playing in his first home game, we got to see early in Luck's career how he would handle a last-minute, potential game-winning drive. Yes, the worst-case scenario (minus a pick-six) was overtime. But the drive started with 31 seconds to play, and immediately, Luck hit Avery and Reggie Wayne on beautiful back-to-back 20-yard passes to set up the game-winning field goal. Credit to Luck for his poise.

Griffin: The 68-yard bomb to Hankerson was a big play midway through the second quarter because it gave the Redskins a 21-6 lead (a short-lived advantage, it turned out). But this was a gorgeous play-call for the long touchdown. He faked a hand-off up the middle to Alfred Morris and an end-around to Joshua Morgan, and it clearly fooled St. Louis' Janoris Jenkins because Hankerson beat him by about seven yards. Great play-call because, up until that point, Griffin hadn't attempted a deep pass.

Worst play

Luck: The Colts were leading by seven with about three minutes to play, and they needed another first down that most likely would seal the game. On third-and-5, Luck took a terrible sack, running backwards until Everson Griffen dragged him down for a 24-yard loss. It was a bad time for Luck's worst play of the day.

Griffin: As good as Griffin's long throw to Hankerson was, his interception at the end of the first half was just as dreadful. With 45 seconds to play and with the Rams cutting the lead to 21-13, St. Louis defensive end Chris Long pressured Griffin from the right side. RG3 threw a ball toward tight end Fred Davis. But since he was off-balance, he didn't get much zip on the pass. That's when Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan sneaked up from behind Davis to intercept the ball.

Griffin takes some lumps in his second NFL start, and sees a potential TD pass get dropped. (US Presswire)

What could have been

Luck: Late in the second quarter with the Colts leading 7-6 and in Minnesota's red zone, Indianapolis faced a third-and-1. But instead of the Colts putting the ball in Luck's hands, he handed off to tight end Dwayne Allen for no gain. Not surprising because, aside from Luck's rushes, the team averaged 2.4 yards per carry. Indianapolis would have to settle for a field goal in the series.

Griffin: The Redskins were losing by three early in the fourth quarter when Griffin found a wide-open Aldrick Robinson deep down the field that probably would have been an easy touchdown. It was the same play as Hankerson's touchdown catch (fake to Morris up the middle, fake the end-around to Morgan). Instead, Robinson flat-out dropped it.

Best pregame line

Luck: Now, Luck must navigate a learning phase. The game is much faster, defenses more complex. Throwing lanes are tighter, and he must master what he describes as a "breadth of protections" to handle blitz packages. And the Colts need drastic upgrades in talent everywhere. (In Week 1,) Luck underthrew Avery and was intercepted on a deep pass down the sideline after he incorrectly thought it was a free play because of a Bears offsides penalty -- that never was called. -- Chip Scoggins, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Griffin: The attention paid to Griffin hasn't rubbed his teammates the wrong way, though some have good-naturedly made fun of him because of the “Griffining” pose sweeping the country. But they have embraced the spotlight their quarterback has quickly attracted, even as they appreciate the way he has included them. As fullback Darrel Young put it, the Redskins have struggled so mightily in the years' past, they're glad to have positive attention of any sort. But the biggest reason for the acceptance stems from the way Griffin carries himself. “He knows you can go from belle of the ball to the outhouse real fast,” nose tackle Barry Cofield said. -- Mike Jones, Washington Post

Best postgame line

Luck: With another quarterback, and another coaching staff, the Indianapolis Colts might have played for overtime. And really, could you argue … "I think we've got some coaches who like to let it ride," Colts receiver Reggie Wayne said. "Three-hundred-and-sixty-five days ago, we would have gone for overtime." What? No gambling with Kerry Collins? Or Curtis Painter or Dan Orlovsky? -- Bob Kravitz, Indianapolis Star

Griffin: The Washington Redskins need to be careful. If you watched their game against the Rams on Sunday afternoon, that much was abundantly clear. It wasn't merely the sight of St. Louis defenders relentlessly pounding rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III that should've given Redskins coaches pause in their 31-28 loss. It's also the fact the Rams apparently had been planning such a battering for RG3 all week long. -- Jeffri Chadiha, ESPN.com

Team savior scale (1-5)

Luck: For his last-minute heroics, a 5 (last week was a 3; overall this season, an 80 percent team savior)

Griffin: For his struggles in the fourth quarter, a 2 (last week was a 5; overall this season, a 70 percent team savior)

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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