Odell Beckham was the last receiver to win the Associated Press’ offensive rookie of the year award in 2014. After six years of quarterbacks and running backs winning the award, Ja'Marr Chase broke the streak by winning 2021 offensive rookie of the year.
Chase was honored at NFL Honors on Thursday night. He received 42 of the 50 votes, with Patriots quarterback Mac Jones getting five, Chiefs center Creed Humphrey two and Chargers tackle Rashawn Slater one.
The Bengals took some heat for drafting Chase fifth overall rather than tackle Penei Sewell, and the voices grew louder when Chase had problems holding onto the football during the preseason.
Once the regular season began, though, Chase played at a Pro Bowl level with 81 catches for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns. He caught 11 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-31 win over the Chiefs in Week 17 that clinched the AFC North for the Bengals.
That performance gave Chase the record for rookie receiving yards in a single game, and he also set a new mark for rookie receiving yards in a season in the Super Bowl era. With two catches for 26 yards in the final game of the regular season, Chase also set the franchise record for single-season receiving yards.