Remaining on offense, seventh-round pick Brock Purdy was thrown into the fire after San Francisco 49ers starter Jimmy Garoppolo suffered what would end up being a season-ending injury. All he did was help lead San Francisco to a fifth consecutive win over the red-hot Miami Dolphins.
These are among the top performances from NFL rookies during Week 13’s slate of games.
James Cook, running back, Buffalo Bills
For the first time as a rookie, Cook got more reps than RB1 Devin Singletary during Buffalo’s win over the New England Patriots on Thursday night. The second-round pick from Georgia ran the ball 14 times for 64 yards while catching six balls for 41 yards in his best performance as a pro. Cook did this on 32 snaps compared to 33 snaps for Singletary.
For a championship-contending Bills team, this type of balance is going to be needed. Quarterback Josh Allen had struggled to an extent ahead of Buffalo’s Week 13 win. It needs to get something from the running game moving forward to reach expectations. At least for one game, Cook provided that with north of 100 total yards.
Jalen Pitre, safety, Houston Texans
To an extent, Pitre has struggled in coverage as a rookie after Houston made the Baylor product a second-round pick during the spring. In fact, the safety entered Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns having yielded a 68% completion and 117.2 QB rating when targeted despite having two interceptions to his name.
While it was not enough for the Texans to defeat Cleveland in Week 13, Pitre more than showed us why he has a bright future in Houston. That included an early interception off of Deshaun Watson in the end zone to snuff out a potential scoring drive.
Teaming up with one of the best NFL rookies on the season, cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., Pitre’s future is bright in Houston. This play is just the latest example of that.
Brian Robinson, running back, Washington Commanders
Robinson entered Week 12 having put up zero 100-yard games throughout his young NFL career. The former Alabama star responded by gaining 105 yards on the ground in a 19-13 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
It’s now becoming rather clear that Robinson has replaced Antonio Gibson as Washington’s RB1. He showed this in a big way during the Commanders’ 20-20 tie against the division-rival New York Giants.
Months after being shot twice in a robbery attempt, Robinson continued to excel in Washington’s backfield. Robinson collected 96 rushing yards on 21 attempts while adding two catches for 15 yards. Over the course of his past four games, Robinson has tallied nearly 400 total yards at a clip of 5.3 yards per touch. That seems pretty darn good.
Garrett Wilson, wide receiver, New York Jets
What Wilson continues to do in Jersey defies logic. Despite being forced to catch passes from Zach Wilson earlier in the season, this former Ohio State star proved himself to be one of the best NFL rookies on the season.
Now that Mike White has replaced Wilson under center, that’s been taken to a whole new level. Wilson caught five passes for 95 yards with two touchdowns in a blowout Week 12 win over the Chicago Bears. He followed that up by tallying a whopping 162 receiving yards in Sunday’s narrow loss to the Minnesota Vikings. This included a 48-yard bomb from White.
Through 13 weeks, Wilson is on pace to catch 82 passes for north of 1,100 yards. It has him on pace to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award 12 games into his initial professional season.
Brock Purdy, quarterback, San Francisco 49ers
“Mr Irrelevant” will prove to be relevant as the 2022 season draws to a close. The final pick in this year’s NFL Draft, Purdy had thrown exactly nine regular-season passes heading into Sunday’s game against the red-hot Miami Dolphins.
He was then thrown into the action after 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered what would ultimately become a season-ending foot injury on their first drive. What followed was this former Iowa State star looking every bit like a veteran out there. Despite facing a ton of pressure from Miami’s defense, he was one of the reasons why San Francisco came away with a 33-17 win.
Purdy would go on to complete 25-of-37 passes for 210 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the one. He did this despite being sacked three times and hit a total of nine times throughout the game.
We have no idea how Purdy is going to perform moving forward as San Francisco’s QB1. He’s going to be under a ton of pressure quarterbacking a championship contender. But for at least one day, he looked like one of the best NFL rookies on the field.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.