With Robert Griffin III being jerked off by pretty much everyone in the media right now thanks to his killer Week 1 performance I thought that it would be interesting to go back and see how Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning faired in their first few games as a rookie. What you’ll see is that you definitely should not over react to such a small sample size.
In Ryan Leaf’s first two games he led the Chargers to a 2-0 record. He went 16-31 for 192 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT’s in his first game vs the Buffalo Bills and followed that up by going 13-24 for 179 yards, 0 TD’s, and 0 INT’s vs the Tennessee Oilers (yes, the Tennessee Oilers…not the Tennessee Titans or the Houston Oilers). Sure you’d like to see those numbers be better but most important is that the Chargers went 2-0. After that things didn’t go so hot for Leaf and the Chargers as they lost six of their next seven games. However, that doesn’t matter as we are only evaluating the first two games since everyone tends to over react early on.
In Peyton Manning’s first two games he led the Colts to an 0-2 record. He went 21-37 for 302 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INT’s in his first game vs the Miami Dolphins and followed that up by going 21-33 for 188 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INT’s vs the New England Patriots. The Colts actually lost their first four games and eight of their first nine that season. How do you think Colts fans thought things were going to turn out with that horrid start? Peyton Manning pretty much played like Brandon Weeden on a regular basis.
So to recap, here’s how things stood after two games for Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning:
Ryan Leaf: 2-0 record, 371 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT’s
Peyton Manning: 0-2 record, 490 yards, 2 TD’s, 6 INT’s
If you were only going to judge the two of them off their first two games in the NFL which QB would you rather have had? Gulp. Ryan Leaf. I believe that RGIII is going to be a very good QB but I definitely think that people are overreacting a ton. It was just one game, and while a very impressive win and performance, one game does not make a career. If so Ryan Leaf would still be playing in the NFL and getting measured for his Hall of Fame jacket. Because of the immediate success that Cam Newton had early on last year everyone is quick to anoint someone the next “insert whatever great tag line you want” instead of just enjoying his maturation and watching the player grow. RGIII is a ton of fun to watch and I hope that people take him for what he is, a developing rookie, instead of expecting him to be the next Randall Cunningham in his first season.