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2014 ROOKIE REPORT

Week III

'Tis better to receive ... In both the first two weeks of the season CBs were named the GBN Rookie of the Week. This week, however, first-year receivers got some revenge as just about all the top rookie performances were turned in by WRs.  John Brown of Arizona, a 3rd round pick from unheralded Pittsburg State, had a pair of TD receptions as the upstart Cardinals upset San Francisco 23-14 to stay unbeaten at 3-0 and a game up on Seattle and two on the 49ers in what figures to be a very competitive NFC WEst divison race. Philadelphia's Jordan Matthews also had a couple of TD receptions in the Eagles' comeback win over division rival Washington. On the day, Matthews, a second round pick this year, had 8 total catches for 59 yards. Meanwhile, Carolina's Kevin Benjamin, the 28th player selected this past May, was one of the few Panthers to show up in a disappointing 37-19 home loss to Pittsburgh. Benjamin had 8 receptions for 115 yards including a highlight reel type 35-yard TD reception. And while his efforts came in a losing cause, Benjamin was clearly the go-to guy for his team  In the end, it was a tight three-way vote between the rookie WRs with Benjamin getting the nod as this week's winner of GBN Rookie of theWeek as he was clearly his team's go-to guy, wheresas Brown and Matthews were still complimentary types.

Elsewhere, New Orleans' WR Brandin Cooks, the 20th player taken this May, had 8 receptions for 74 yards to help the Saints get off the schneid with a 20-9 win in Minnesota, while Jacksonville got 7 receptions for 79 yards from second round WR Allen Robinson and a 63-yard TD from undrafted rookie WR Allen Hurns, although their efforts were barely a blip on a dismaying 44-17 Jags' loss to Indianapolis. Meanwhile, Baltimore rookie RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, a 4th round pick from FCS Coastal Carolina, helped ease the loss of Ray Rice as he ran for 91 yards on 18 carries in the Ravens' 23-21 win at Cleveland. In the process, Taliaferro outdueled the Browns two-headed rookie RB tandem of 3rd rounder Terrence West and undrafted free agent Isaiah Crowell who combined for 91 yards on 23 carries and 2 scores. On the other side of the ball, first rounders Anthony Barr of Minnesota and Cincinnati CB Darqueze Dennard, Chicago 2nd round DT Ego Ferguson and undrafted rookie free agent DT Kelcy Quarles of Indianapolis had sacks in their team's respective wins, while Buffalo LB Preston Brown led all rookie tacklers with 11 in a 22-10 loss to San Diego.

Then there were three … It was never so much as if, but when, as 2014 first rounders Blake Bortles of Jacksonville and Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater both got their first extended playing time in their team’s respective game this past weekend. Indeed, both have been named their team’s starter going forward. Bortles, the 3rd pick overall at this year’s draft, took over at half time from an ineffective Chad Henne with the Jaguars down 30-0 to Indianapolis and then was named the starter after he completed 14 of 24 passes for 223 yards and 2 TDs, although he did also have a couple of picks. For his part, Bridgewater, the final pick in this year’s opening round, got the call for the Vikings when incumbent starter Matt Cassel broke his foot in the 2nd quarter of their game with New Orleans. Bridgewater also played well enough after entering the game as he completed 12 of 20 attempts for 150 yards with no interceptions, but couldn‘t get the Vikings into the end zone in a 20-9 loss. Meanwhile, Oakland’s Derek Carr, the Raiders’ second round pick who has been starting since the season opener, again had decent numbers in the team’s loss at New England as he completed 21 of 34 passes for 174 yards, but had a pick and just didn’t get the ball downfield enough as Oakland was held to just 3 FGs in a 16-9 loss that dropped Oakland to 0-3.

Previous Weekly Winners:

Week I:   Denver CB Bradley Roby
Week II: Chicago CB Kyle Fuller
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