Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Doug Martin are appearing to be the three-man race for this season's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Having been burning up the stat sheet for their respective teams, all are quite impressive in one way or another and it's only reasonable to anticipate their dominance continuing through November.
Each were first-round selections during the 2012 NFL draft, and their teams combined for a record of 11-37 last season.
And considering how well Luck, RG3 and Martin have done thus far, it's no surprise to see each garnering more recognition. Here, we break down all three and figure out who has been the most impressive to this point.
Andrew Luck: QB, Colts
For one, Luck just set the NFL's single-game rookie-passing record with 433 yards against the Miami Dolphins. In short, that performance is why the Indianapolis Colts took him at No. 1 overall.
On another level of impressive, though, is Luck having Indy sitting at 5-3 and in the postseason hunt. After going 2-14 in 2011, the Colts are in the midst of one historical turnaround. As for Luck, he has only thrown one pick in the past three games and eight on the year.
That said, three of those eight came in Week 1 at the Chicago Bears who are now 7-1. Indy is 5-2 since losing opening week, and Luck's been quite consistent as well.
With nine touchdowns to only five picks from Weeks 2 through 9, Luck also has a 57.8 completion percentage in that span. Obviously not unreal numbers, but the guy is winning and that's most important.
Robert Griffin III: QB, Redskins
Unfortunately, RG3 and the Washington Redskins are 3-6 and on the cusp of playoff elimination. On the bright side, RG3 is still putting up great numbers and leading Washington in the right direction.
Through nine games, RG3 has eight touchdown passes to a mere three interceptions, a 65.6 completion percentage and six rushing scores. Washington's offense ranks No. 10 in averaging 25 points per game and Griffin himself is responsible for 280 total yards per game.
Plus, it's not like the Redskins have been getting thwacked when losing. All six losses are by a combined 44 points: Which averages to 7.3 points per game. Also, RG3 is not backed by a reliable defense.
The Redskins allow 27.6 points and nearly 400 total yards per game. So, Griffin is basically carrying Mike Shanahan and Co. by himself.
Doug Martin: RB, Buccaneers
The next installment of beast-mode is Martin. The guy is a straight force between the tackles and his 5.2 yards per carry average is emphatic proof.
After all, the former Boise State ball-carrier bulldozed the Oakland Raiders for 251 yards and an average of 10 yards per rush in Week 9. Before Martin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' ground game was LeGarrette Blount: Meaning, inconsistent in production and unreliable.
Along with his 794 rushing yards, Martin is a solid receiving back with 245 yards on 20 receptions. Granted, he is assisted by a strong passing game, because the Josh Freeman-to-Vincent Jackson connection is keeping defenses from stacking the box.
Nonetheless, Martin's impact is also allowing the Bucs to set up play-action and remain balanced. Considering the defense can't stop anyone—gives up 23 points and almost 400 total yards per game—Martin's immediate production has taken the NFL by storm.
Who is the Best Thus Far?
It's certainly a tossup and regardless of who has performed the best through nine weeks, there is not a wrong answer.
To that end, Martin has been the most impressive because he's a running back in a quarterback-driven league. And for as much as opponents have been able to thrash Greg Schiano's defense, it's rare to see a ground game be the primary reason why Tampa's offense can match/set the pace.
The Buccaneers are a run-oriented team, and if it weren't for Martin's quick development, Freeman would be under duress in similar fashion to 2011. We must also include guard Carl Nick being gone for the year, per Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune:
As they close a month in which their offense was among the most dynamic in the league, the Bucs had to place Pro Bowl left guard Carl Nicks on injured reserve with a torn plantar plate in his left big toe.
The offensive line is the most important unit of players to any single team in football at any level. And when a rookie running back loses an All-Pro such as Carl Nicks but still manages to steamroll, that's worthy of the best right now.
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