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What Did We Learn - Week 13

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Andrew Luck is historically good. Luck has been putting up gaudy numbers, as he seems to single-handedly carry the Indianapolis Colts, kicking and screaming, across the finish line each week. There’s something to be said for the way he’s been pulling out wins this year. It’s strangely similar of Tim Tebow last season, except for the fact that Luck is, you know, a quarterback. But no matter the score or situation, it always seems like he’s going to do something awesome. On Sunday, he threw the Colts back into the game against Detroit, completing just 24-of-54 passes, but totaling 391 yards and four touchdowns, including the game winner as time expired. Sure, he threw three interceptions. He’s a rookie after all. But he’s having perhaps the greatest first season by a quarterback in history. And it’s been amazing to watch.

Greg Jennings will fit in after all. On Sunday, Jennings caught four balls for 46 yards in his return to game action, looking almost all the way back. He still needs to get back in shape a bit, but he’ll be productive soon, possibly next week for owners that either held on to him or pounced on him on the waiver wire. In addition, Jordy Nelson exited the game in the first quarter after tweaking his hamstring. For weeks, we’ve wondered how (or if) Jennings would fit in when he returned. But hamstring injuries, especially in cold weather, are very difficult. With the current playoff picture, the Green Bay Packers will exercise caution with Nelson, meaning Jennings will slide right into his old role.

Chris Johnson is no more than low-end RB2. Johnson might be bipolar. He is either fantastic or dreadful. In Week 13, he was closer to dreadful than fantastic, totaling just 51 yards on 13 carries and adding 20 receiving yards. He’s had four games of more than 125 yards rushing and another four with less than 25 yards on the ground. Despite his feast-or-famine 2012, his poor numbers will be masked by the big games. If you hear 12 games, 993 yards, 4.9 yards per carry, and four touchdowns, you’re thinking a dependable top tier back. But ask his owners if they’d rather have Johnson or Frank Gore. Or Trent Richardson. Or even Shonn Greene. First round picks are supposed to be trustworthy in the playoffs, and I just don’t believe in Johnson.

Cam Newton appears to have regained his 2011 form. Maybe I was expecting a sophomore slump, but I didn’t think Newton was going to be all that great this year. Back in August, he was typically the fourth or fifth quarterback off the board, and at that point, I figured I’d wait for one of the Mannings, Ben Roethlisberger or Matt Ryan. But in the past two weeks, Newton has thrown and run like last year’s version. With 232 passing yards, three scores, and another 78 yards on the ground, Newton followed up his performance on Monday Night Football against the rudderless Philadelphia Eagles with another big game against the Kansas City Chiefs. I know it was the Eagles and Chiefs, but it still counts.

Michael Crabtree has turned into a dependable receiver. This is another development that surprises me. Crabtree was the man in college, but a lengthy holdout, immaturity and an inability to get on the field had limited Crabtree’s value. But those days are long gone. On Sunday, he caught seven passes for 101 yards. In the past five weeks, he has 23 receptions for 300 yards and four scores. While there’s still plenty of room to develop, he is clearly a staple in the San Francisco passing attack.



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