Week 12: Rookie Standouts

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Thanksgiving week always brings us a feast of games, and this year was no different, with three exciting contests on Turkey Day itself. The weekend didn’t disappoint either, with multiple shock results and a couple of overtimes sprinkled in for good measure. Here are three rookies that stood out among the pack:

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Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver – New York Jets

What a difference a week makes. After being frustrated by last week’s abysmal quarterback performance from Zach Wilson, there was a new man under centre this week, and Mike White was able to turn things around thanks in part to his main target, Garrett Wilson.

Wilson continued his stellar year by catching five passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns. His second touchdown, a 51-yard catch and run, was somewhat fortuitous as the Bears’ Eddie Jackson, who was covering Wilson, suffered a foot injury on the play, which put him on the ground; however, it was still an outstanding midair catch, and as they say, they all count. Wilson’s second score wrestled the lead back from the Bears just before halftime, and the Jets took care of the rest, shutting the Bears out in the second half.

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Brian Robinson, Running Back – Washington Commanders

Another week and another stellar performance from the Washington running back, who, along with Taylor Heinicke, has been a major part of the Commanders’ recent resurgence, and both players’ fortunes could be a major factor in a late playoff push for yet another NFC East team.

Robinson finished the day with 105 yards on 18 carries, including a long of 21 yards. He also had two catches on three targets for 20 yards and a touchdown. In the last three games, all wins for the Commanders Robinson has now recorded 248 rushing yards on 59 carries at an average of 4.2 yards per carry. With two upcoming games against the Giants, who allow the second-most yards per carry, Robinson will be confident in his ability to maintain his ground dominance.

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Trent McDuffie, Cornerback – Kansas City Chiefs

It’s safe to say that it’s been a fractured season for first-rounder Trent McDuffie. Following a hamstring injury in Week 1, the cornerback was placed on injured reserve before being activated at the start of November. Though it is highly unlikely that McDuffie will get close to a defensive rookie of the year nomination, it could very well be a case of what might have been.

Since his return, McDuffie has stayed mostly under the radar while playing some of the best football of any of the rookie cornerbacks. This past week, he only allowed two catches for 13 yards on six targets and had a pass breakup. In his four games since his return from injury, he’s been targeted 19 times and only allowed 10 receptions.

Honourable Mentions

Kayvon Thibodeaux (New York Giants), Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh Steelers), Jake Ferguson (Dallas Cowboys), Malcolm Rodriguez (Detroit Lions), Skyy Moore (Kansas City Chiefs)

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