In Week 9's rookie QB showdown between Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill, there was a clear winner but no real loser.
Each signal-caller impressed in this Indianapolis Colts-Miami Dolphins clash. It was just that Luck took things to a level that few rookies can reach and showed why he was the top overall pick in April's draft.
The stat lines for each player stand as follows:
Tannehill: 22-of-38 passing for 290 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Luck: 30-of-48 passing for 433 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
The Colts also happened to win an absolute nail-biter by the score of 23-20. While Tannehill played extremely well, it was hard not to be overshadowed by Luck's 400-yard performance.
He consistently finds ways to keep the Colts in close ballgames and finds ways to win in the fourth quarter.
Andrew Luck now has 4 game-winning drives in 4th qtr/OT.. the other rookie starting QBs (Tannehill, Wilson, RG3, Weeden) have 4 total— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 4, 2012
Both QBs were working without the benefit of a decent rushing attack in the contest. The leading rusher for the Dolphins, Reggie Bush, had just 41 yards. Vick Ballard had 60 yards for Indianapolis.
Tannehill has had moments of ineptitude this season, including six interceptions in Miami's first four games. However, he has not thrown a single pick in his last four games. The former Texas A&M Aggie looks comfortable in the pocket and is avoiding pressure properly.
Still, he is not Luck. That may sound unfair, but the fact remains that Luck is better than Tannehill at this point in their careers.
This was best evidenced in this Week 9 showdown as he averaged 9.0 yards per pass and also passed this milestone:
Andrew Luck now has 2,404 passing yards this season, the most of any rookie through his team’s first 8 games #PeytonWho?— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 4, 2012
Both Tannehill and Luck had multiple drives of 80 yards or more this week, and both have bright NFL futures.
The difference in Week 9 was that Luck made his future look just a little bit brighter.