NFL Week 7: Grading the rookies

Luck and Weeden faced off in Week 7. (AP)

Robert Griffin III, Redskins QB: Losing by four with the game slipping away late in the fourth quarter, Griffin made two of the more impressive plays we’ve seen from him this season. On the first, a fourth-and-10 deep in Washington territory, Griffin (20-of-28 for 258 yards, two touchdowns and an interception to go with 89 rushing yards on nine carries) athletically scrambled around the field before he found a receiver to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, he lofted a gorgeous 30-yard pass to Santana Moss for the score that put Washington ahead. Ultimately, his teammates couldn’t hold the lead. Grade: A-

Andrew Luck, Colts QB: Indianapolis didn’t need Luck to be great in the passing game vs. the Browns. And he wasn’t, completing 16 of 29 passes for 186 yards. No touchdowns, but no interceptions, either. Instead, Indianapolis focused much of its attack with the running game as Vick Ballard gained 84 yards on 20 carries and Luck himself scored two rushing touchdowns. Luck had a bad fumble midway through the fourth quarter when he was smashed by Sheldon Brown, but the Colts overcame it, anyway. Grade: B

Brandon Weeden, Browns QB: Going against his fellow rookie quarterback in Luck, Weeden had a statistically stronger day, in part because Trent Richardson missed the second half (he was benched for not being effective while trying to play through a rib injury). Weeden finished 25-of-41 for 268 yards and two touchdowns, but his receivers had some key drops that didn’t help the cause -- Luck had to deal with that as well -- and in the case of Josh Gordon, it cost Cleveland a touchdown. The problem for the Browns, of course, is that they couldn’t score for the final 27 minutes of the game. Still, Weeden put in a solid performance. Grade: B

Other rookie performances of note:

Doug Martin, Buccaneers RB: The man who took LaGarrette Blount’s job had a nice 36-yard touchdown run early in the game that appeared to showcase how Tampa Bay would exploit the Saints' subpar defense. Unfortunately for Martin, his team didn’t win.

Kemeche Osemele, Ravens LT: Luckily for Baltimore, he escaped what could have been a serious injury when he hurt his ankle and had to leave the game. He told reporters he actually thought he had broken the ankle and felt blessed that his X-rays came back negative.

Alfred Morris, Redskins RB: Once again, Morris had an impressive day on the ground, gaining 120 yards on 22 carries. But he also lost the first fumble of his career in Washington’s defeat.

Trent Richardson, Browns: Dealing with a rib injury, Richardson played the first half. But after gaining only eight yards on eight carries, he was benched by coach Pat Shurmur for the second half. Richardson said after the game that he didn’t want to come out but that Shurmur had made the right decision.

Whitney Mercilus, Texans LB: Through six games, Houston’s first-round pick from 2012 hadn’t done much, recording just six tackles. But against the Ravens, he recorded the first sack of his career, forced a fumble and batted a pass that was intercepted by Glover Quin.

Harrison Smith, Vikings CB: His pick-6 in the third quarter gave Minnesota a 21-7 lead vs. the Cardinals. The Vikings held on to win by seven.

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