NFL FanHouse Midseason Midtacular: because handing out awards at the halfway point in the season seemed like the right thing to do.
I can't remember the last time this many rookies made this big of an impact in just nine short weeks. We have running backs dominating their respective backfields, obscure quarterbacks on teams nobody really thought would win actually winning and even a few random positions being dominated by a first year. Unlike the fraternity house, if you're a good young stud, you can lead the group and these few have done just that, with the last winning our respective rookie of the first half award.
Matt Forte, RB Chicago -- The rookie out of Tulane basically broke waiver wires the first week with his 123 yard, 1 touchdown game against the Colts. While it took him seven weeks to break the century mark again, last week against Detroit, the tough-nosed runner has been consistent, rushing for 76 or more yards five times this season. If the Bears want to continue their dominance over the NFC North, the offense will need the mix of passing and running, with Forte getting a lot of that attention.
Eddie Royal, WR Denver -- Jay Cutler and company was pretty lucky to have Royal in the lineup with Brandon Marshall out early in the season. The first year from Virginia Tech had 146 yards and a touchdown in his first game, and has averaged 65.9 yards per game with one of the better players at his position lining up on the other side of the ball. Royal might not be a first option for a quarterback, but if he could be the Wes Welker to Marshall's Randy Moss this team will always be scary for secondaries.
Joe Flacco, QB Baltimore -- While his first five games were pitiful (7 interceptions, 1 touchdown), the Delaware product has turned it around, throwing four touchdowns and no interceptions his last three games to move the Ravens to 5-3, just a game back of the Steelers in the AFC North. It takes some time to get used to the speed of the NFL, and it appears Flacco has figured it out, at least for the time being. If he can continue his "nothing great but nothing crazy" mentality, Baltimore will snag a wild card spot.
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Aqib Talib, CB Tampa Bay -- If you can make a difference in the secondary as a rookie, you've been successful. Talib has made a difference three times, with three picks for Tampa Bay. The first round pick out of Kansas has been a great asset to the sixth ranked passing defense.
Chris Johnson, RB Tennessee -- Johnson would win this award running away if it wasn't for this next guy. The running back for the Titans is splitting carries with LenDale White, but is still fourth in the NFL in rushing yards. While he seems to be substituted for White in the goal line situation, Johnson has been the heart and soul of the rushing attack for Tennessee, and is getting more and more carries as the season progresses.
....and the Rookie of the First Half goes to.....
Matt Ryan, QB Atlanta -- When he has a good game, the Falcons win, simple as that. Atlanta was a team in complete shambles last year, struggling with that old quarterback they had who had done bad things and in desperate need of a face-lift. The clean-cut Ryan has done just that, tossing nine touchdowns and putting the Falcons in a position to actually make the playoffs. If you think that is crazy, swallow this -- Ryan and Michael Turner might be the best quarterback-running back duo in the league. What do you think about that?
NFL FanHouse Midseason Midtacular: Matt Ryan Is the Rookie You Wish You'd Drafted originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Wed, 05 Nov 2008 03:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.