NFL Rookie of the Year: 4-Touchdown Performance Moves Russell Wilson to Front

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIDecember 24, 2012

Russell Wilson has five signature wins in 2012.
Russell Wilson has five signature wins in 2012.Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Russell Wilson has moved himself to the front for the NFL Rookie of the Year with his four-touchdown performance Sunday.

For all of the talk about Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, Wilson has quietly gone about his business winning games.

The Seattle Seahawks quarterback had another outstanding performance against the San Francisco 49ers. He threw for 171 yards and four touchdowns, bringing his total to 2,868 yards and 25 touchdowns.

So, why does Wilson move above Luck and RGIII?




No other starting rookie quarterbacks had the same expectations placed on them.

Wilson, on the other hand, came in as the wild-card piece in Seattle, having beaten Matt Flynn for the starting job. The Seahawks were playoff contenders with a big question mark at quarterback.

Make enough rookie mistakes early on and Wilson likely would have found himself on the bench.

Griffin, Luck, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden weren't expected to come in and be the savior right away. While Griffin and Luck became that for their franchises, Wilson had no choice but to play great from the beginning.



The Stats

Some people may say Andrew Luck has more passing yards and touchdowns than the other two. Therefore, he should get the Rookie of the Year.


Along with his 4,183 passing yards and 21 touchdowns, Luck has also thrown 18 interceptions. He's been expected to air the ball out more in Indianapolis due to the lack of a running game.

Griffin has 3,852 combined rushing and passing yards. He's only thrown five interceptions and lost two fumbles. However, he has fumbled the ball a total of 12 times, finding himself lucky to recover most.

Wilson has thrown 10 interceptions, while only losing three of five fumbles.

For the most part, Griffin and Wilson are taking care of the ball, so where's the separation?



Signature Wins

When you look at the signature wins between the three quarterbacks, Wilson's body of work looks better.

With wins over Dallas, Green Bay, New England, Chicago and San Francisco, Wilson has five signature wins on the year.

Outside of the "Fail-Mary" game against the Packers, Wilson had his best games in terms of QBR in those four games.

In Week 2 against Dallas, Russell had a 76.3 rating, although Luck did rank the highest rating at 95.7.

In Week 6 against New England, Russell ranked fourth with a QBR of 91.4, while he had an 85.4 rating in Week 13 against the Bears. On Sunday, he led the league again with a 97.6 rating against the 49ers.

Griffin has big wins over the Giants, Ravens and Saints, while Luck has a win over the Packers.

While RGIII had good ratings in his signature wins, Luck came out with a 68.2 QBR in his only signature win.




Sure, Griffin and Luck have better stats at first glance. Luck has gotten his team in the playoffs and Griffin is one win away from doing so.

However, when it came to big games against the best the league, Wilson came up big.

Luck failed against Houston, New England and Chicago, while Griffin failed against the Giants (one game), Bengals and Steelers.

Big players come up in big games and Wilson has shown up in all but one this year.

That is why he's at the top for Rookie of the Year.