Quarterbacking sensations competing for Rookie of the Year and playoff greatness. (USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES)
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- From April through September, it was hard for NFL fans outside of Washington D.C. to mention Robert Griffin III's name without also commenting on Andrew Luck -- even if it was just his neck beard or dorky ways.
But as the 2012 NFL season played itself out, it became apparent that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was the true rookie RGIII should be compared too.
Off the field, the two are close to mirror images of each other.
Griffin is happily engaged, while Wilson recently tied the knot. Both often give glory to the man upstairs. Both excelled at other sports -- Wilson at baseball and Griffin at track and field. Both are already the unquestioned leaders of their locker room's. Both have infiltrated their respective cities to become superstars in a matter of months.
And at first glance on the gridiron, the two appear to be mimic each other's style, giving defenses fits and turning journeyman receivers into bonafide playmakers. The statistics are nearly identical to each other.
Griffin: 3,200 pass yards, 20 TD's, 5 INT's, 102.5 QB Rating, 815 rushing yards, 7 rushing TD's
Wilson: 3,118 pass yards, 26 TD's, 10 INT's, 100.0 QB Rating, 489 rushing yards, 4 rushing TD's.
They even both threw the football 393 times each in 2012. By now, you are sick of the comparisons -- believe me I am too. So here are the three main differences you'll see on Sunday.
1) Where they have their passing success
Griffin and the Redskins receivers have torched teams down the middle of the field. A whopping 68 percent of Griffin's throws have been away from the sideline -- an area which typically is a rookie quarterbacks best friend because there is much less danger. 2,301 of Griffin's 3,200 yards were away from the thick white chalk.
On the other hand, Wilson and Seattle's passing attack is borderline obsessed with attacking the right side of the field. Wilson attempted 232 passes to either the right sideline or right portion of the middle of the field, compared to 161 combined passes over the middle and to the left. It will be vital for the Redskins to confuse Wilson with coverages on the right side, especially with emerging star Rob "Jack City" Jackson on third down passing plays.
2) Griffin is a running back; Wilson is a play extender
Both are scrambling quarterbacks, but in entirely different fashions. The first evidence: Griffin had 11 games with 34 or more yards rushing; Wilson had just 4 games with that amount.
Usually when RGIII has a carry for more than six-yards, it's a designed run call. Upon inspecting the film, five of Griffin's six gimpy carries against the Cowboys were called for, and not free-lanced. Even with a bum knee, the NFL's top scrambling quarterback doesn't hesitate to move forward, unlike his counter part this week.
Although Seattle has adopted part of Kyle Shanahan's pistol offense, Russell Wilson legs become a problem for defenses when a play breaks down. Wilson, like Tony Romo, is at his absolute best when running back and forth behind the line of scrimmage when blitzing pressure can't break through. Then he flings the ball down the field as if he's playing backyard football. The Redskins defense most avoid these chaotic situations at all costs.
3) Griffin excels on the road, Wilson does not
The Seahawk faithful get all riled up when media members criticize their inefficiencies on the road. But how can they be ignored with a rookie quarterback, esepcially when his counterpart had zero problems traveling and succeeding?
Russell Wilson went 3-5 on the road, threw eight of his 10 interceptions away from Seattle, boasted an 83.1 QB rating while traveling, compared to a 123.6 QB rating at home. He attempted 65 more passes as an away opponent for just 110 more yards.
Griffin's numbers between home and away games are not nearly as staggering. In fact, most are astonishingly better on the road. RGIII threw 12 of 20 touchdowns away from home, boasted a 106.1 QB rating, as opposed to 98.4 at Fed Ex Field and even threw for 372 more yards when away from Landover, MD.
It shouldn't matter whoever loses their first playoff game on Sunday. Both have wildly exceeded all of our expectations in year one. But if the Redskins can defend the right side of the field and limit Wilson's ability to turn chaos into points, Washington should be able to secure it's first home playoff victory since 1999.
Stats obtained from Yahoo! Sports.