The NFL offensive rookie of the year race is not wrapped up yet, but it may have taken a big step towards settling up in Week 11. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert had turned the competition into effectively a two-player race in recent weeks. Other rookies have had big moments this season, but Burrow and Herbert have consistently impressed most of the season.
Unfortunately, Burrow suffered a season-ending injury in Week 11. He suffered a nasty knee injury that reportedly resulted in a torn ACL and potentially some additional damage. He is getting an MRI for confirmation, but acknowledged on Twitter that his rookie season is finished.
Burrow opened the 2020 season as the favorite to take home the Offensive Rookie of the Year at DraftKings Sportsbook. This is a talented rookie class, but a quarterback starting in Week 1 with some of the weapons Burrow had made him a prohibitive favorite. Other players snuck in here and there, but for much of the first quarter of the season, he was favored.
That changed as the season moved into the second quarter of the schedule. Herbert moved into the starting lineup following the Chargers’ Week 1 win over the Bengals after Tyrod Taylor suffered a punctured lung while getting a pain-killer injection. Herbert was a last minute start in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs, and it didn’t take him long to impress. He surpassed 300 passing yards in each of his first two games, and after combining for two touchdowns and two interceptions in those games, he’s thrown at least two touchdowns in seven straight games.
Through 11 weeks, Herbert has thrown for 2,699 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions to go along with 3 rushing touchdowns. Prior to his injury, Burrow had thrown for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions to go along with 3 rushing touchdowns. Tua Tagovailoa might have climbed into the race after moving into the Miami Dolphins starting lineup, but he’s struggled enough that it was unlikely he could do enough to catch up with Herbert.
Herbert had climbed past Burrow in the OROY odds early in the second quarter of the season. Coming into Week 11, Herbert sat at +125 to win while Burrow was at +150. The book will remove Burrow from the board, and it would not surprise me to see Herbert drop to below even money. If Herbert stays healthy, he’s likely going to end up the unanimous OROY.