NFL Week Three: The Rookie Review
Week three has thus far been the week of upsets, near upsets, and interceptions. Oakland lost to Buffalo in the final four seconds, Miami trampled New England, the Giants squeaked by the Bengals in OT, and Jacksonville kicked a last-minute field goal to save their season against the Indianapolis Colts.
Joe Flacco, the Baltimore Ravens' first round draft pick and 18th overall pick in the 2008 draft, outplayed rival quarterback Derek Anderson in a game dominated by the Ravens' defense. Flacco threw seven straight completions, hitting five different receivers for 74 yards before throwing his first ever NFL interception.
Flacco would end the day completing 13 of 19 passes for 129 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns. His quarterback rating by the game's finish was 47.8.
In contrast, Derek Anderson completed 14 of 37 passes for one touchdown and three interceptions. One of the interceptions led to an Ed Reed touchdown and the others set up Baltimore scores. Anderson's quarterback rating ended at a devastating 22.9.
Baltimore won that game 28-10.
Matt Ryan, the Atlanta Falcons' first round draft pick, had another good day as well. Ryan's team decimated the lowly Kansas City Chiefs with a combination of power running and opportunistic throwing.
In his third career start, Ryan was 12 for 18 with no interceptions and a touchdown. The rookie quarterback's rating was 120.6 by game's end.
Atlanta scored the game's first 24 points on Michael Turner's back and Ryan's arm before Kansas could muster an answer.
Turner rushed 23 times for 104 yards and three touchdowns, once again proving to be the main weapon of this offense.
The final score was Atlanta 38 - Kansas City 14.
Rookie wide receiver Eddie Royal, unlike his QB counterparts, did not have as glamorous a week as he did week two. He rushed one time for six yards and caught four passes for a total of 11 yards against the New Orleans Saints.
Rookie RB Matt Forte once again proved to be the centerpiece of the Chicago Bears' offense. He rushed the ball 27 times for 89 yards against a Tampa Bay defense hell-bent on forcing Kyle Orton to throw the ball.
Forte's longest rush of the night was only 11 yards.
Kyle Orton threw 34 passes, completing 22 of them for 268 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. For the first time, we saw Orton shed his game manager image as he was forced to step up and make several 15-plus yard passes. He ended the night with a QB rating of 83.9 and ultimately couldn't lead his team to an overtime victory over the Buccaneers.
The final score: Tampa Bay 27 - Chicago 24, in OT.
First round draft pick Darren McFadden had an average day, sharing the carries with fellow rookie running back Michael Bush. Oakland held the lead against the Buffalo Bills nearly the entire game, until a last-second field goal by Buffalo's kicker Rian Lindell.
McFadden rushed 14 times for 42 yards, averaging three yards per carry. His longest run was a 12-yard breakout.
Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell went 9-19 with one touchdown and zero interceptions. He also rushed for one yard for a rushing touchdown against the Bills' solid run defense.
The final score was a close one, Buffalo 24 - Oakland 23.
There are reports that Raiders coach Lane Kiffin will be fired Monday because of the loss.
Overall, this year's rookies have had their ups and their downs. Last week's impressive numbers for the most part weren't replicated but they did their jobs and didn't cost their teams the win.
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