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RG3 Shines, Brandon Weeden Doesn't In Week 1

The two former college rivals in the Big 12 had mirror opposite days in their first week in the NFL. Plus, a look at how some of the conference's other notable skill players performed at the next level.



Robert Griffin III (Baylor)

RG3 tore it up in his rookie debut, throwing for 320 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He became the first player in NFL history to throw for over 300 yards and have two touchdown passes with no interceptions in his first game. Although he put these numbers up against a Saints defense in complete disarray from their offseason problems, Griffin proved he can succeed at this level and the Redskins may have finally found a franchise quarterback.

Andy Dalton (TCU)

After an impressive rookie season, Dalton was out to build on his success in Baltimore against a Ravens team primed for a Super Bowl run. However, he was less than impressive Monday night, throwing for 221 yards and an interception. The Red Rifle looked sharp in the first half, but was unable to build any momentum in the second half. The Bengals will need him to mirror his success from last season if they want to make the playoffs in an always tough AFC North division.

Sam Bradford (OU)

He didn't put up gaudy numbers (198 yards, 1 TD), but Bradford was able to drive his team down the field for a go-ahead field goal with 1:55 remaining. Unfortunately, the Rams defense was unable to hold the lead and gave up the game-winning touchdown. Bradford is working in a new offensive system this year and his weapons are limited to an aging Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola. In his third season out of Oklahoma, this is the year Bradford needs to take the next step.

Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State)

It doesn't get much worse than Weeden's performance Sunday. He had the worst quarterback performance of Week One, throwing for only 118 yards and four interceptions with no touchdowns, compiling a microscopic 5.1 QB rating. The 28-year-old rookie was expected to replace former Longhorn Colt McCoy (who the Browns have apparently given up on), but with his atrocious performance Sunday, McCoy may be back in the picture. Even a mediocre performance would have likely pushed the Browns ahead of the Eagles in the one-point loss. A Big 12 quarterback controversy may be in Cleveland's near future.

Running Backs:

DeMarco Murray (OU)

He was nothing short of stellar in the NFL opening game last Wednesday against the Giants. Murray gained 131 yards on only 20 carries, including a 48-yard scamper that set up a touchdown. Murray exploded onto the scene last year and emerged as the Cowboys' top running threat, but his season was cut short by a broken ankle. If Murray remains healthy, he has the potential to become one of the top running backs in the NFL.

Jamaal Charles (UT)

His season ended in week one last year when he tore his ACL. Charles eased back in this week with 16 carries for 87 yards, including one for 46 yards. The revamped Chiefs offense will likely rely heavily on him, but newcomer Peyton Hillis will be sharing the load this season,

Adrian Peterson (OU)

When he tore his ACL late last season, many were skeptical that he could return for a full season in 2012. He silenced the naysayers Sunday with a very solid performance, especially in light of his quick recovery time. He carried the ball 17 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over Jacksonville. If he has fully recovered from his knee surgery, his presence will be needed on a rebuilding Vikings team.

Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State)

After a quiet yet solid rookie season for the San Francisco 49ers, Hunter looks like he may have an expanded role in his sophomore campaign. He had nine carries for 41 yards in Sunday's victory over the Green Bay Packers. He is a very solid backup and is only one Frank Gore injury away from being San Francisco's feature back.

Wide Receivers:

Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State)

Dez led the way for Big 12 receivers in Week One with four receptions for 85 yards, including a 38-yard snatch. Bryant has shown tremendous potential in his young career, but has yet to put together a full season of consistent production. If he can avoid injuries and off-field issues, he can definitely emerge as one of the NFL's top wide receivers.

Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech)

The former Dallas Carter star looks like he may be poised to have a fourth consecutive season of increased production, starting 2012 with seven receptions for 76 yards in a victory over the Green Bay Packers. Crabtree looks like he has solidified himself as San Francisco's number one receiver, even ahead of tight end Vernon Davis.

Danny Amendola (Texas Tech)

After a season-ending triceps injury during the first week of last season, Amendola looks to be back in form and ready to become Sam Bradford's top target in 2012. He had five catches for 70 yards Sunday against the Lions. The Rams have a revamped offense under new head coach Jeff Fisher, and Amendola will be one of the keys to their offensive success. Look for Bradford to lean on his fellow Big 12er this season in what will likely be a career year for the young wideout.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.