2012 continued a strong NFL trend of standout rookie play, particularly at the quarterback position.
Prior to last season, the most combined wins (23), passing yards (13,060), touchdown passes (73) and completions (1,098) by rookie QBs in a season all occurred in 2011. The 2012 crop of rookie QBs surpassed all of those marks by a wide margin, doubling the previous record win total (46) and combining for 20,300 passing yards, 105 TD passes and 1,713 completions.
"These guys redefined what it is to be a rookie quarterback," says ESPN analyst and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback STEVE YOUNG. "No one will ever have the same expectations again."
Andrew Luck of Indianapolis and Russell Wilson of Seattle each finished with 11 wins, joining Ben Roethlisberger (13 in 2004), Joe Flacco (11 in 2008) and Matt Ryan (11 in 2008) as the only rookie starting QBs in the Super Bowl era to win at least 11 games.
The starting rookie quarterbacks to win at least 11 games (since 1966):
Luck passed for 4,374 yards, topping Cam Newton's rookie record of 4,051 in 2011, and became the first rookie in NFL history with 4,000+ passing yards and 10+ wins. He also set the single-game rookie record for passing yards (433 vs. Miami on 11/4/12).
Luck's seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime tied for the most by a starting QB in a single season -- rookie or veteran -- since at least 1970. Wilson's 26 TD passes tied PEYTON MANNING's NFL rookie record set in 1998. Wilson also became the first rookie QB in the Super Bowl era to lead his team to an undefeated home record (8-0).
Washington's Robert Griffin III (102.4) and Wilson (100) finished the season as the NFL's No. 3 and No. 4 leading passers, respectively. Griffin and Wilson are the only qualifying rookies in NFL history with a 100+ passer rating.
The rookies with the highest passer rating in NFL history (qualifiers):
|Robert Griffin III||Washington||2012||102.4|
And the quarterbacks weren't the only rookies to make an impact in 2012.
Washington running back Alfred Morris rushed for 1,613 yards, the third-most by a rookie in NFL history (Eric Dickerson, 1,808 in 1983; George RogerS, 1,674 in 1981).
Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin posted 1,926 scrimmage yards, trailing only Eric Dickerson (2,212 in 1983) and Edgerrin James (2,139 in 1999) for the most ever by a rookie.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins of St. Louis tied for the NFL lead with three interception-return touchdowns, tying Pro Football Hall of Famers LEM BARNEY (1967) and RONNIE LOTT (1981) for the NFL rookie record.
Kicker BLAIR WALSH of Minnesota converted 10 of 10 FG attempts of 50+ yards, the most in a season in NFL history (rookies and veterans).