Justin Herbert vs. Joe Burrow: Who wins the NFL Rookie of the Year?

Ashley Young
·3 min read

Justin Herbert vs. Joe Burrow: Who wins the NFL Rookie of the Year? originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

It’s week seven of the 2020 NFL regular season and the Rookie of the Year race is one tight race.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert lead the way at the top of this list. The No. 1 overall pick and No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft are putting on a show in each of their franchises despite the team’s record. Cincinnati is 1-5-1 and last in the AFC North while Herbert picked up his first win on Sunday with the Chargers at 2-4 in the AFC West.

Both these rookie quarterbacks have been impressive in their debut seasons.

Let’s zero in on this Rookie of the Year race:

JOE BURROW

The former college football national champion is currently third in the league in passing yards (2,023) behind Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Houston’s Deshaun Watson. He has completed 230-of-340 passes, has thrown for 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Burrow is also tied for the most-sacked quarterback in the league (28). Against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and without running back Joe Mixon, Burrow literally put the Bengals on his back and nearly grabbed his second career win in the NFL. 

Good news and bad news for the rest of the season, Cincinnati is in the second toughest division in the NFL with Pittsburgh (6-0) and Baltimore (5-1) but also play the worst division in the NFL (NFC East) this season. The Bengals next opponents have excellent defenses (Tennessee and Pittsburgh) and then Burrow will get a break against Washington and the New York Giants.

JUSTIN HERBERT

Who would have seen Herbert’s success coming so early in the NFL? Literally, every Oregon Ducks fan who saw him the last four seasons in Eugene, Oregon.

We’ll never know if Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn would have played Herbert this soon if a team doctor didn’t accidentally puncture veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s lung, but we do know that Taylor is now Herbert’s official backup. 

Through six games - one less than Burrow - Herbert has thrown for 1,663 yards, completed 151-of-227 of his passes, thrown for 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

Herbert and the Chargers face some lackluster defenses in the next four games: Denver, Las Vegas, Miami and the New York Jets. This is a stretch of games in this 2020 regular season that Herbert needs to take advantage of. 

After getting his first career NFL win on Sunday, his former Oregon teammates weighed in on the Rookie of the Year race:

Who will be crowned the NFL's Rookie of the Year at the end of the season? Both quarterbacks are heating it up...

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