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Flowers, Gibbs Make Rookie Mistakes at Worst Possible Time

Sunday’s Championship Games were filled with rookie players who have made an impact the entire season and continued making splash plays. One can argue that without their contributions, the football teams may have struggled to even reach their Championship games.

The Baltimore Ravens’ wide receiver Zay Flowers, was the only receiver on the Ravens who was nearly unguardable, accounting for 115 total yards, which was 42% of the team’s total passing yardage for the game. Flowers’ quarterback Lamar Jackson finished with 272 passing yards and the only touchdown that the team scored was to Flowers on a 54-yard reception.

Despite the valiant effort from Flowers to help jump start his team, he suffered the dreadful rookie mistake syndrome that haunts first-year players. Upon entering the NFL, a player must adapt to not only the rules that are different from the collegiate rankings but also the player speed and hard hitting athletes. Flowers’ first big rookie mistake came at the worst possible time when his team was down by 10 points in the fourth quarter needing a touchdown to put pressure on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

To start the fourth quarter at the 9-yard line, Ravens’ Jackson finds Flowers on a shallow crossing concept in which he was wide open. Flowers rushing upfield then dove toward the end zone, resulting in a forced fumble by Chiefs shutdown cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. The Chiefs ultimately prevented the comeback bid and ended up winning the football game by a final score of 17-10, advancing to Super Bowl LVIII.

Even though Flowers did everything he could for three straight quarters, he will be remembered for quite a while with his goal line fumble, which was a rookie mistake at the worst possible moment for such a bright star.

He has vowed in recent interviews to learn from this critical mistake and I believe him. His route-running ability will continue to plague NFL defenders and he is an athlete who will continue to make plays when his name is called upon.

Another athlete who experienced the dreaded rookie mistake syndrome is Lions’ rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs. After what seemed like the Lions being on the cusp of their first Super Bowl in the history of their franchise, turned into a complete nightmare. The team had a 24-7 halftime lead and ultimately lost 34-31 to the San Francisco 49ers.

The Lions deploy a running back duo that has taken the NFL by storm in 2023. Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery accounted for a total of 2,287 rushing yards between the two backs and 28 total rushing touchdowns. This duo was one to watch this season but the love for the rookie first-round draft selection out of Alabama turned sour quite quickly.

Leading 24-17 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter, Gibbs fumbled the football and the 49ers ended up recovering. This rookie mistake and ensuing miscommunication on the play, gave the 49ers life and they tied the game just a few plays later.

Gibbs is one heck of a player, but the rookie mistake of not securing the football, really happened at the worst time. The Lions lost a heartbreaker to the 49ers and their Super Bowl appearance will have to wait a bit longer.

Final Thoughts:

Both Flowers and Gibbs made their rookie mistakes at a time that was not the greatest; however, there is no doubt that their future in the NFL is extremely bright. These plays should not define them as players and individuals, because the fans should realize that without their contributions in 2023, the teams would not have made it as far as they did – and that is a fact.


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