Rashad Jennings (Getty Images)
Although none of the four teams in the AFC South have marquee rookies, the first-year players on all four team's rosters have been performing and helping them win. We will take a peek at how the AFC South rookies performed on Sunday.
Texans vs. Colts
Although the outcome certainly wasn't what the Texans were seeking in Indianapolis, a few of their rookies made nice impacts. First-round pick Brian Cushing continues to impress as he registered 12 tackles, one tackle for loss, and defended a Peyton Manning pass. Cushing leads the team in tackles (66), forced fumbles (two), and passes defensed (seven). Fourth-round pick Glover Quin was a player who few knew when the Texans wrote his name on the draft card, but he is paying dividends. Quin recorded six tackles and defended four passes Sunday afternoon.
Indianapolis' rookie wideout Austin Collie had big shoes to fill when the Colts decided not to retain veteran Marvin Harrison. His role grew by leaps and bounds when second-year pro Anthony Gonzalez went down with a knee injury during week one. All Collie has done was be a perfect compliment to the great Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, as he has 30 receptions for 330 yards and four touchdowns. Collie had two big catches that went for first downs on Sunday afternoon, including one that set up the game-winning score for Indianapolis.
Colts third-round pick, cornerback Jerraud Powers is going to get plenty of chances to play from here on out with the injuries to Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden. Powers made the most of his opportunity Sunday, as he recorded 10 tackles and a pass defensed. Although his net punting average of 32.7 yards isn't overly impressive, Indianapolis punter Pat McAfee put all three of his punts inside the Houston 20-yard line.
Chiefs vs. Jaguars
The Jaguars are getting perhaps the most bang from their draft class buck as they start four rookies on occasion. Fourth-round pick Mike Thomas made a nice impact on Sunday as he took a reverse 18 yards for a first down and set up what proved to be the Jaguars game-winning score as he returned a punt a career-long 44 yards. Seventh-round pick, running back Rashad Jennings scored his first touchdown, on a 28-yard run and caught his only intended pass. Paving the way for Jennings were rookie tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, who both had solid games.
Defensively, third-round pick Terrance Knighton continues to be a beast in the middle as the big man sucked up blocks en route to a great day for the Jaguars linebackers. Knighton had a pair of tackles, split a sack with Daryl Smith, and hit Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel one other time. The player taken just after Knighton, rookie corner Derek Cox has started every game this season and recorded five tackles, one for loss, and got his hands on a pass. Cox is tied for the team lead in interceptions and passes defensed.
Titans vs. 49ers
Titans rookie linebacker Gerald McGrath (fourth-round pick) received his most playing time since the preseason and he made the most of it recording six tackles. Cornerback Ryan Mouton added one stop as did defensive back Jason McCourty.