By Danny Cox

The 2012 NFL season has been full of surprises, including great performances, big time injuries, and upsets all over the place. This past weekend’s action brought about some unexpected performances that were set forth by two rookies that have extremely great careers ahead of them.

First up was the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and that is Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. To start things off, Sunday’s 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins have the rebuilding Colts sitting at 5-3, and that’s much better than anyone expected from them this year.

Getting to that fifth victory though is what made matters even better.

(Credit, Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Luck captured the record for yards passing in a game by a rookie by throwing for 433 yards and two touchdowns. The record he broke was only about a year old after Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers threw for 432 last season.

The rookie for the Colts broke another record as well, as he became the NFL’s second rookie quarterback to produce four 300-yard games in a season. With eight games left to play, he will likely get a few more.

Oh yeah, the only other rookie to have at least four 300-yard passing games in a season? That would be Peyton Manning.

Adding to the great passing yardage day for Luck, his overall game was quite brilliant. He completed 30-of-48 passes, converted 13-of-19 third-down tries, and helped lead the drive that led to the game-winning field goal.

Up next is Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin, who had the game of his early career on a day that his team returned to his hometown to play the Oakland Raiders. Martin rushed for a franchise-record 251 yards and four touchdowns in a game where more than 60 family members and friends of his were in attendance.

“Everybody was there. It was awesome,” he said. “It’s surreal right now. I’m just doing my job out there. I’m honored.”

Martin, the 31st pick in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft, was the first running back to score on three touchdowns runs of 45 yards in one game since at least 1940. He joins Denver’s Mike Anderson as the only players in league history with at least 250 rushing yards and four touchdowns in a game.

The last month and a half of his young professional career has been something that is the dream of all rookies. Last week in a game against the Minnesota Vikings, Martin had 214 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. That was the type of play that got the young Buccaneer named NFL’s top offensive rookie for October.

Every year, there are great performances just about every week and fans always find them hard to believe. A lot of those fantastic outings come from many players that they are expected to come from. That doesn’t make them any less interesting, but it does make them a tad more unsurprising.

Seeing performances like that of rookies Luck and Martin on Sunday just makes them even more jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring.

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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on