Both Luck (left) and Martin (right) were on their ‘A’ game yesterday, earning places in the record books with their performances.
This past Sunday was clearly the day for rookie standouts. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck threw for 433 yards and two touchdowns, topping the previous rookie record for yardage of 422 set by Cam Newton last season and becoming just the second rookie QB in NFL history to toss four 300-yard games in a season (the other, coincidentally, was Peyton Manning whom Luck replaced). Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin ran for 251 yards and four touchdowns, both franchise records. Martin is also the only player in league history besides RB Mike Anderson to accomplish both rushing feats in the same game, and he stands alone as the only man in the NFL to ever record three touchdowns of 45-plus yards since 1940. Even rookie RB Mikel Leshoure decided to get in on the action, becoming the first player in Detroit Lions history to rush for three touchdowns in the first half. While Leshoure has had a solid rookie season, however, Luck and Martin have been outstanding. Luck is the more consistent player, having played well from the start of the season and continuing to look better as the season rolls along. Martin, on the other hand, has come on in the past couple of weeks, having racked up over 100 yards in the two games previous to Sunday’s outburst.
Despite the disparity in the consistency of their performances, both players have had quite the impact on their teams. With Luck, you have a confident young man who has a controlled understanding of the game and the position he so rightfully preoccupies. Everything everyone said about him being a “natural” coming out of college seems to be coming to fruition, with a comfortable pocket presence and impeccable accuracy the two most prominent attributes of his game. Since Peyton Manning’s career in Indianapolis is over, I have no problem rooting for this kid and enjoying the story the 5-3 Colts are writing this season. Like Luck, Martin also exudes a considerable amount of confidence, showing the ability to not only run through people but by them as well. He has incredible vision, displaying the ability to hit the cutback lane with an explosive burst as well as find a crease when there doesn’t appear to be one. Luck and Martin are both great athletes, and their efforts on the football field have served to inject confidence into their teammates. They are proven leaders and major reasons why their teams both have at least .500 records, a mark each finished below last season. Their teammates believe in them, and considering these performances you should, too. Both could be continuing to make headlines come playoff time.