Re-Ranking Rookie of the Year Race as Luck Loses, RGIII Sits
There are only two regular-season games remaining in the 2012 regular season, and that means that not only are the playoffs coming into focus but so are the races for individual awards such as offensive and defensive rookie of the year.
(It's a good thing that they give two awards. It's the only shot a defensive player has at winning one. See: Trophy, Heisman)
Week 15 brought with it some shakeup to the rankings in the race to be the top rookie, as while one front-runner sat the other lost, while the dark-horse candidacy of another player grew on the heels of a big game.
Who are these pros and where do they rank after Week 15? Read on!
Missed the Cut
7. Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers: Ranks second in the National Football League with 138 tackles and is the favorite to take home the defensive hardware, but awards are all about offense in football. Just the way of the world.
6. Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns: Richardson leads all rookie running backs with 11 rushing touchdowns, but with only 897 yards and a yards per carry average of only 3.5, Richardson has been much more plowhorse than thoroughbred this season.
5. Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season Stats: 273 carries, 1,250 yards, 10 touchdowns, 38 catches, 397 yards, 1 touchdown
Last Week: 9 carries, 16 yards, 3 catches, 19 yards
A few weeks ago, it appeared that Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin might make a serious run at being named top rookie, but the Buccaneers' recent slump has coincided with one by Martin.
"The Muscle Hamster" has topped 100 yards on the ground only once during Tampa's current four-game losing streak, and last week's dud against the New Orleans Saints was likely the last nail in the coffin of Martin's candidacy.
4. Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins
Season Stats: 280 carries, 1,322 yards, 9 touchdowns, 8 catches, 48 yards
Last Week: 27 carries, 87 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 catches, 6 yards
It's been all but drowned out by Griffin-mania, but Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris has been a large part of the team's success this season.
Only two backs in the NFL have more carries than Morris this season, and Morris leads all rookie ball-carriers with over 100 carries in both rushing yardage and yards per tote.
Unfortunately for Morris, he's not a quarterback, so the only way he's getting a trophy is to buy one.
3. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Season Stats: 222-of-353, 2,697 yards, 21 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 402 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns
Last Week: 14 of 23, 205 yards, 1 touchdown, 92 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns
Here's where things get cloudy quickly, and depending on the last two games of the season, any of the next three players listed here could bring home offensive rookie of the year.
That trio most definitely includes Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who leads all newcomers in touchdown passes.
Wilson hasn't received the hype of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin, but Wilson's stats compare favorably to Luck's in many respects, and while Luck was losing in Week 15, Wilson was closing the gap with a four-touchdown performance against the Buffalo Bills.
2. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Season Stats: 308-of-564, 3,978 yards, 20 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 233 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns
Last Week: 13 of 27, 186 yards, two touchdowns, 10 rushing yards
Andrew Luck is clinging to the second slot in the rookie ratings right now by the slimmest of margins, even though Luck actually played fairly well in Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans.
Luck is on pace to set a new rookie record for passing yardage, but his completion percentage and quarterback rating is significantly lower than Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin, and those 18 interceptions stand out.
If Wilson puts together another big game on national television against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night and picks up some notoriety points, we could see Luck get leapfrogged.
1. Robert Griffin, QB, Washington Redskins
Season Stats: 233-of-351, 2,902 yards 18 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 748 rushing yards, 6 touchdowns
This Week: Did not play (knee injury)
Given how he got hurt, hurtling himself through the air like a madman, I don't think many OROY voters faulted Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin for sitting out last week's win over the Cleveland Browns.
However, were Griffin to be rested again this week things might get interesting, as the gap between Griffin and those chasing him might actually narrow here as opposed to what it usually does on the football field.
With that said though, as things stand right now, whether it's the quarterback rating of over 100, the rookie record for rushing yards by a quarterback or the numerous "wow" plays, Griffin has treated fans to this season the top spot is his to lose.