Andrew Luck: Colts QB Is Rookie of the Year Favorite After Record-Breaking Day

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 04: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts looks for a open receiver while playing the Miami Dolphins at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 4, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Andrew Luck turned a solid rookie year into a great one with one big day against the Miami Dolphins.

With 433 passing yards, the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts broke Cam Newton's record for the most by a rookie in a single game. He also added two touchdowns and no interceptions in the 23-20 win.

The victory brings the Colts to 5-3 on the season. If the year ended today, this would be good enough for the team to reach the playoffs. Considering Indianapolis had only two wins last year, this seems like nothing short of a miracle.

However, the impressive record is very much due to the play of Luck. The team does not run the ball well and the defense has been inconsistent, but the quarterback play has kept the Colts in the playoff hunt.

This is enough for the Stanford product to be considered the midseason favorite for Rookie of the Year.

Robert Griffin III is likely Luck's primary competition for the award. The pair was selected as the first two picks of the 2012 NFL draft and will be compared to each other throughout their careers. It would only be fitting if they were the top two finishers in the Rookie of the Year race.

So far, Griffin has dazzled both statistically and in the highlight reel. The quarterback of the Washington Redskins has passed efficiently with a 97.3 quarterback rating, and he is also one of the best runners in the league with over 500 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

However, he has slowed down in the last few weeks. Griffin completed less than 60 percent of his passes in each of the last two weeks, and he has been responsible for only one touchdown in that stretch. Meanwhile, his team has lost three straight games and fell to 3-6 on the season.

In the history of the Rookie of the Year Award, the quarterbacks that win are usually ones who lead their teams to success in the standings. 

Ben Roethlisberger was 13-0 as a starter in his rookie year. Vince Young took an 0-3 team to finish with an 8-8 record. Matt Ryan was 11-5 and led his team to the playoffs. Even Cam Newton and Sam Bradford greatly improved their team's records after miserable seasons prior to their arrivals. 

If the two quarterbacks have similar numbers by the end of the season, Luck will earn the award by virtue of his advantage in the win column.

To this point, however, the Colts quarterback has been better. Not only does he have more passing yards and touchdowns, but ESPN's Total Quarterback Rating lists Luck as the fourth-best quarterback in the NFL. Griffin is respectable at No. 10, but he is still far behind.

In addition to Griffin, running backs Doug Martin and Trent Richardson provide some stiff competition for the award. However, only two of the last nine winners have been running backs. Voters are now looking in other directions, and Luck will be the beneficiary.

Andrew Luck has been impressive all year long, and it seems like the best is still yet to come. Two bad games have hurt his 10-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio, but he continues to improve. By the end of the year, he can be among the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

At that point, he should be on top of voters' minds for the prestigious Rookie of the Year Award.