Griffin, the more nontraditional, spread-it-out-and-attack scrambler from Baylor, was selected in the draft right after Luck, when the Washington Redskins traded up to the second spot to grab their franchise quarterback.
Both were thought by many draft experts to be the best quarterbacking prospects to come into the NFL since Peyton Manning in 1998.
On Sunday, both Griffin and Luck made their NFL regular season debuts. And they did not disappoint.
All he did was pass for 320 yards and two touchdowns while adding 42 yards on the ground. He became the first player in NFL history to put up those passing numbers without throwing an interception in a debut. His 88-yard pass to Pierre Garcon in the first quarter was the longest by a rookie in Week 1 since the 1940s.
The most remarkable aspect to Griffin’s passing numbers was his efficiency. He completed 19 of his 26 pass attempts, which resulted in a jaw-dropping 12.3 yards per attempt for the rookie. His proficiency led to an incredible quarterback rating of 139.9.
Griffin’s performance was very steady, as the Redskins scored ten points in each quarter, resulting in a 40-32 win over the Saints.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Griffin’s debut was his reluctance to run out of the pocket. He’s extremely athletic, so he could rip off 10-yard runs left and right if he really wanted.
But on multiple occasions, Griffin stayed patient and eventually found an open receiver downfield for a big gain. Not only did this result in more yards, it also saved Griffin from a possible injury from any roaming linebacker wanting to crack a few bones.
Luck didn’t turn in the same type of performance. He went though some growing pains, tossing three interceptions and losing a fumble.
But his numbers were not a direct result of his performance.
Luck faced the Chicago Bears defense, which is consistently one of the best in the league.
Combine that with the Colts’ horrible offensive line and the fact that Indianapolis’ leading rusher, Donald Brown, only ran for 48 yards, and it’s a miracle Luck could even get off a decent look.
The Bears didn’t have to prepare for the run. They knew Luck was the Colts’ only threat. Chicago consistently collapsed the pocket whenever Luck would drop back for a pass, forcing him into hurried decisions that would beset some of the league’s best quarterbacks—let alone a rookie in his first start.
Still, Luck managed to throw for 309 yards and a touchdown. He also led an impressive drive at the end of the first half, taking the offense 59 yards in 42 seconds before Adam Vinatieri missed a field goal.
Overall, Griffin claimed victory in the first round of the never-ending comparisons between the two rookie quarterbacks.
But the fans of both the Redskins and Colts should be very happy. If Week 1 was any indication, both Griffin and Luck are well on their way to greatness in the NFL.