Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Griffin III scores a huge TD against Dallas in Week 17.
For the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, we trimmed the field last week down to three finalists. They are Washington QB Robert Griffin III, Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck and Seattle QB Russell Wilson.
How fitting that all three quarterbacks were able to lead their team to playoff appearances. The trio of rookie quarterbacks from the 2012 draft class will be one of the most memorable in NFL history. Considering that all three teams failed to make the playoffs in 2011 but all three made the postseason being led by a rookie is what will be hard for future draft classes to duplicate.
What is a shame is that Washington RB Alfred Morris has to be overlooked as he was as much of a factor for the Redskins down the stretch as anyone else on the team.
But due to the outstanding play of the three rookie quarterbacks, we can't endorse him for the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Morris wound up rushing for 1,613 yards, which means that he finished No. 2 to Adrian Peterson in the NFL. Morris also finished with the third-best rookie rushing totals in the history of the league, trailing only Eric Dickerson (1,808 yards) and George Rogers (1,674 yards).
As for Luck, Griffin and Wilson, here are just a few of their accomplishments.
Wilson tied Peyton Manning's all-time NFL rookie record by throwing 26 touchdown passes. He also led all rookies in making so many defenders look foolish when they tried to lay a hand on him.
Luck set an NFL all-time rookie record with 4,374 passing yards. He also set a record with seven comeback wins in the fourth quarter of games this year.
Griffin III set an NFL all-time record for lowest interception ratio per passes attempted at just 1.3 percent (with a minimum of 300 pass attempts). Griffin had a five-game span with a QB passer rating of 127.7, which is the highest five-game rating by a rookie in NFL history.
Griffin led the NFL with an average of 8.14 yards per pass attempt. He also led the entire NFL with an average of 6.8 yards per rushing attempt (based on a minimum of 100 rushes).
You could make a case for any of the three quarterbacks to win the award. Washington and Seattle had the great running game, which meant that Luck had to do more on his own. Griffin and Luck were drafted No. 1 and No. 2 overall with the intention of starting from Day 1. Wilson had to win the QB job from two veteran quarterbacks.
In my opinion, Griffin came out early this year and established that he was the best quarterback of the three. Luck had a number of strong games and great comebacks, but his interception total and lower pass completion percentage brought his overall value down.
Wilson came on like gangbusters in the second half of the season. Pete Carroll kept Wilson under wraps in the first half of the season, which was what he needed to do to win games with the rookie. But in so doing, it ultimately prevented Wilson from putting up bigger numbers.
Finally, the Washington offense turned the ball over just 14 times this year, fewest in the NFL. That is a direct reflection on the solid decision-making skills of Griffin. Griffin was also the only rookie that won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month award twice this season, which is symbolic of how well he played all year long.
After weighing all the evidence and watching Griffin gut it out in Week 17 with the season on the line, the choice here is for Robert Griffin III to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.