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Tale of the Tape: Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III, Week 16

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 16: Despite a somewhat-lackluster performance from their somewhat slumping quarterback, Luck's Colts clinched a playoff berth with a 20-13 win vs. the Chiefs. The Redskins were bolstered by the return of Griffin after a one-week injury absence, and they squeezed past the Eagles 27-20 to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Passing stats

Luck: 17-35, 205 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions

Griffin: 16-24, 198 yards, two touchdowns, one interception

Rushing stats

Luck: Six carries, 21 yards

Griffin: Two carries, four yards

Longest play from scrimmage

Luck: With the team still looking to find its footing offensively, Luck, on the Colts' first snap of the second half, stepped up in the pocket and fired a 33-yard pass to Reggie Wayne. Less than a minute later, though, Indianapolis had to punt again.

Griffin: On first down with 9:39 to play in the second quarter, Griffin took the snap, faked two handoffs and found his old standby, Pierre Garcon, open across the field for the 29-yard reception.

Best play

Luck: Despite a rough day, Luck did manage to throw the game-winning touchdown pass with 4:08 to play when he spotted Wayne running a post route in the back half of the end zone and fired a nice, high throw that Wayne reeled in with a leap. It was Luck's most important -- and his prettiest -- pass all day.

Griffin: On third-and-10 from the Eagles' 22, Griffin took the shotgun snap and lofted a picture-perfect 22-yard teardrop pass to Santana Moss, who caught it in the end zone, got his right foot down and dragged the left to complete the score. Beautiful throw and a gorgeous catch.

Worst play

Luck: With about 40 seconds to play in the second quarter and the Colts looking to score a touchdown that would put them ahead 17-3 heading into halftime, Luck had an open LaVon Brazill in the back of the end zone. But the Chiefs had good pressure on Luck, and he shot-putted the ball about three yards over Brazill's head.

Griffin: There wasn't much bad to dissect from this game. But on the Redskins' opening drive, Washington tried to match the Eagles on fourth-down conversions. But while Philadelphia went 2 for 2 on fourth downs on its game-opening touchdown drive, Griffin faked the pitch on fourth-and-2 and, under pressure, flicked a quick pass to Moss. It was not well thrown, and it was dropped for a turnover on downs.

Best pregame line

Luck: "The foreseeable future looks bleak, and the reality is the Chiefs have some work to do before they're again challenging for a playoff spot. They could use some encouragement about what's to come, and for that, they should look across the Arrowhead Stadium field at their opponents on Sunday. The Indianapolis Colts were in the same position last year as the Chiefs are now. The Colts were 2-14, and with longtime quarterback and franchise icon Peyton Manning about to depart, their future looked grim. But after cleaning out the front office and coaching staff; having some good fortune in landing Manning's replacement, Andrew Luck; and charting an aggressive draft that looks better by the week, the Colts are 9-5 and can clinch a wild-card playoff berth with a victory on Sunday. Nobody saw it coming." -- Adam Teicher, Kansas City Star

Griffin: "After his first injury this season -- a concussion suffered in Week 5 -- Griffin said he learned he needed to do a better job of protecting himself and knowing when to slide ... But the rookie said this injury didn't teach him anything. To do it all over again, Griffin said, he would have tried to pick up yards just the way he did, rather than throwing the ball away. Griffin also said that going forward, he will not be more prone to throwing the ball away on a broken play to avoid injury. 'The day I think about throwing the ball away at the beginning of a play, I should stop playing,' Griffin said. 'It's just something that happens. I've thrown the ball away this year, but it's not something you take into a game plan. Alright. I'm going to go 1-2 and throw it out of bounds. I just think that's a faulty approach to the game, but I get where everyone is coming from. I continue to protect myself. This latest injury could have happened to anybody. I was getting down. It is what it is, and I have to move on from that.' " -- Mike Jones, Washington Post

Best postgame line

Luck: "Early in the fourth quarter Sunday, Andrew Luck slung a pass down the sideline for fellow Colts rookie and former Stanford teammate Coby Fleener that wound up rolling in the grass for his 10th straight incompletion. At that point, he'd connected on just 11 of 29 passes for 156 yards without a touchdown and looked every bit like a rookie quarterback struggling to tread water in the NFL. 'I didn't think I could hit the broad side of a barn at that point,' Luck said later, 'but our defense had hung in there, and it was our turn to carry the baton at some point.' During the next 6 minutes, Luck not only picked up the baton but ran it across the finish line." -- Tod Palmer, Kansas City Star

Griffin: "Next week will be a different deal, but caution was the plan on Sunday for Robert Griffin III. No quarterback option-keepers. No mad scrambling. No death-defying stunts. They played it safe and scaled back the scheme for the electric Washington Redskins rookie quarterback, who returned to the lineup after missing a game with a sprained lateral collateral ligament in his right knee. It made sense to limit danger, with Griffin still appearing a bit gimpy. 'We did not do everything that we would normally do,' Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said after the 27-20 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles. 'I did not want to put that pressure on the LCL.' " -- Jarrett Bell, USA Today

Team savior scale (1-5)

Luck: It didn't help that the Chiefs defense played very well -- the secondary especially hit the Colts receivers hard -- but Luck continued his late-season slump. For Indianapolis, though, a win is a win. Luck gets a 2 (last week he was a 1; overall this season, he's a 65.3 percent team savior).

Griffin: In his return from the sprained knee, Griffin looked gimpy while running the ball (which is probably why he didn't do it much). But while passing, he was just as impressive as usual. He gets a 4 (last week, he didn't play; overall this season, he's 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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