Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Robert Griffin III had to perform this season.
After all, the Redskins traded a way a bounty for the rights to draft him in the 2012 NFL draft, and he was handed the keys to a franchise that had been among the most quarterback-starved in the league.
He has rewarded their faith with bountiful returns.
The rookie out of Baylor has been a driving force in Washington's resurgence. The team is just one game out of the NFC East with a great chance to win it considering their favorable schedule down the stretch.
Griffin is currently leading the league with a 104.2 NFL rating, having thrown just four interceptions to 20 touchdown passes. As a rookie. Russell Wilson isn't far behind with a 94.9 rating, but the rest of the qualifying rookie pack is in the bottom 10, including Andrew Luck.
He also leads quarterbacks with 749 rushing yards—just 251 shy of 1,000 with three games to play, though his gimpy knee might not allow for it—and is second to Cam Newton with six rushing touchdowns.
Much like Wilson, though, Griffin has gotten plenty of help.
Kyle Shanahan installed the pistol read-option offense, a college staple that had long disappeared from the NFL. It is an offense that fully utilizes Griffin's unique skill set, though he should be given credit for having the ability and intelligence to run it effectively.
He also has Alfred Morris, the sixth-round dark-horse Rookie of the Year candidate—a notable snub in this list, admittedly—who is just behind Doug Martin for the league lead in rushing yardage among rookies.
Luck might be the leader in the public eye, but Robert Griffin III is making a hard charge for the award. The only thing that might derail him at this point is an injury.
Case in point, Griffin was forced off the field against the Ravens near the end of last week's game, allowing Kirk Cousins to finish what he started.
It is unclear whether Griffin will be able to play this week—his father seems to think so despite the risk and protest—but he will need to finish out the season if he is going to keep pace with Luck.
Odds to win OROY: 5/4