Offensive rookie of the year: Justin Herbert

USA Today Sports

Philip Rivers was the Chargers’ starting quarterback for 14 years and never missed a start. But when his contract expired following the 2019 season, it was clear that Rivers departing the organization was in everybody’s best interest.

So the Chargers drafted his replacement at No. 6 overall. The initial idea was to let the young quarterback sit and learn behind veteran Tyrod Taylor as he acclimated to the league.

But things changed quickly. Taylor’s lung was punctured during a pregame painkilling injection for his injured ribs in Week 2.

Justin Herbert took over and never looked back.

In 15 games, Herbert set a new standard for performances by a rookie quarterback. He completed 66.6 percent of his passes for 4,336 yards with 31 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. He added 234 yards rushing with five rushing touchdowns.

He set rookie records for total touchdowns (36), passing touchdowns (31), completions (396), multi-passing touchdown games (10), games with 300 yards passing (eight), and three-passing touchdown games (six). He was just 39 yards short of Andrew Luck’s rookie record of 4,374 yards passing.

Herbert’s performance has led PFT to name him our offensive rookie of the year for 2020.

There were other strong contenders for the honor. Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson set a new rookie record for receiving yards, reaching 1,400 on the season. His performance made both Minnesota and Buffalo winners in the offseason trade that sent Stefon Diggs to the Bills.

And Buccaneers right tackle Tristan Wirfs was instrumental in Tampa Bay reaching the playoffs. The 13th overall pick out of Iowa, he played every offensive snap in his first year as quarterback Tom Brady was sacked just 21 times.

But Herbert’s record-setting season takes the prize. Whoever the Chargers hire as their next head coach will take the job knowing there’s a franchise quarterback in place.

40 responses to “Offensive rookie of the year: Justin Herbert

  1. Rough times to be anything but a Quarterback. You can literally set records as a rookie and still lose to a QB that won 6 games. Out of 15.

  2. Well deserved. And it’s not even close with the receiver from Minnesota. Every GM will take a franchise quarterback over a diva wide receiver like Jaron Jefferson.

  3. what a great player Herbert is. He is a treat. if the Browns were smart they would have kicked Mayfield to the curb for Herbert and made a trade for him. he’s 100x the QB Mayfield is

  4. trun0rth says:
    January 6, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    Rough times to be anything but a Quarterback. You can literally set records as a rookie and still lose to a QB that won 6 games. Out of 15.


    As opposed to winning 7 out of 16 games?

  5. Herbert came in as a rookie not expected to start and absolutely lit it up, against everyone. Well deserved.

  6. Don’t care. Doubt Jefferson does. These are the type of awards selfish players like Rodgers goes on and on an about wanting so badly.

  7. JJ got ripped. He deserved it. VERY hard (and rare) for a rookie WR to have this kind of impact.

  8. Jefferson had a great season but also benefits from Theilan, Cooks and HOFer Cousins … kidding

  9. Hard to pick that Vikings lady. They were losing in most of their games and more than 75% of his yards were in garbage time.

  10. Herbert is going to be a great QB for years to come. He stepped in with no notice and hasn’t looked back.

  11. ariani1985 says:

    Notice that the packers didn’t have a rookie make the list? Notice?


    I just noticed they were busy planning for their next game after their playoffs bye-week.

  12. As a Viking fan I’m perfectly OK with Herbert winning this. QB is the most difficult and demanding position in football and for him to accomplish what he did this year is nothing short of amazing. If a team had to pick a QB for the future of their franchise, other than Mahomes and not counting the older near the end of career QBs like Brady etc. I don’t know who you’d pick over Herbert.

  13. Well deserved, he’s a young stud and it’s an individual award so why some prefer to look at team records in these things instead seems to say alot about their own IQ. Maybe should have give it to the rookie KC Rb because he helped KC so much this year etc…

  14. I think those teams are going to be sorry they passed on Herbert….except for the Bengals. In that case, Burrow is sorry they didn’t pass on Herbert.

  15. I meant to say, Burrow is sorry they did pass on Herbert. He’s going to be wasted in Cincinnati. If he’s lucky he won’t already have suffered a career-ending injury by the time his contract is up and he can get away from Mike Brown.

  16. I think my team’s rookie, Herbert, deserves the award for what he accomplished with a shortened off-season, no preseason games and not being prepared to be the starter before the season started. But I also think Justin Jefferson has a case for winning the award. Tough decision.

  17. Is it wrong saying BOTH deserve and it would be wrong to make the CO-winners? They both deserve it.

  18. philmccracken says:
    January 6, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    I like rookie WRs who aren’t divas.
    I like Jefferson as well, but the QB deserves the award.

  19. Herbert great season not a top 10 QB, JJ amazing season not a top 10 WR, Tristan Wirfs was the best RT in the NFL this season. Just saying..

  20. What’s harder? Throwing a perfectly placed 20-yard out with a rushing LB in your face while you’re on the move and your target is covered closely or catching said pass.

    Enough said.

  21. JK Dobbins deserves at least a shout out, he doesnt deserve it over Jefferson or Herbert but he had a very very good season.

  22. Don’t disagree with Herbert winning and Jefferson’s performance warrants consideration but someone should acknowledge James Robinson. Tied for 5th in the league in rushing despite missing last 2 games, 289 touches, over 1400 total yards and 10 touchdowns. His performance is all that more impressive as a running back when you think about the fact that his team constantly found themselves down and in passing situations more so than running. All while having the odds stacked against him as an undrafted rookie.

  23. Huge “Jets” fan, obviously, but no problem with Herbert getting OROTY. He didn’t step into a situation where they were prepping him to immediately play, with Taylor there as a bridge – but put on the spot early and came through. Looking forward to hopefully a great 15 year or so rivalry between KC & Mahomes vs LAC & Herbert. Jefferson will be just one of many LSU players from the amazing 2019 team that’ll be fun to watch earn their keep for years.

  24. Jefferson is overrated. He’s torched teams’ second corner on already bad teams and people go nuts.

    Cant give the guy praise for big games against Jax, Det, ATL, ten, and Chi (twice. Only have one good corner after the rookie got hurt).

    But, Herbert really only had two bad games: Mia and NE. While putting up solid numbers against the Chiefs (twice), Bucs, Saints, Panthers, & Bills. He showed some amazing poise and looks like a franchise QB already. Not making dumb decisions and making some great throws while not afraid to take a big hit. He’s lightyears ahead of Mitchell Trubisky, already. (Shots fired)

  25. Well deserved. By far the most impressive rookie this year and probably the most impressive rookie QB I have ever seen.

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