By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
At the end of last season, the main question coming for, Costa Mesa, Headquarters of the Los Angeles Chargers was how they would replace their Quarterback of 16 years, Philip Rivers. It appeared that veteran Tyrod Taylor would finally get his opportunity to lead a team without looking over his shoulder. Understanding the team would draft a quarterback with the No. 6 picks in the NFL draft to be groomed for the future, under the tutelage of their Taylor and newly signed Quarterback Coach Pep Hamilton.
Well, as most of us know, things don’t always go as planned. The Chargers did draft their quarterback with the 6th pick in the NFL draft. They did draft tall, strong-armed, Justin Herbert out of the University of Oregon, who many believed would be a project and would benefit from a year on the sidelines learning how to be a professional quarterback.
However, in a bizarre turn of event in the home opener, Tyrod Taylor, their starting quarterback was injured during a routine pre-game pregame procedure, it was at the moment that Head Coach Anthony Lynn looked at Justin and said, “You’re in” and Herbert was thrust into the starting lineup. As Chargers Tight End Hunter Henry tells it, he looked up and saw Herbert was coming into the huddle he asked Herbert, “What are you doing here?” Herbert told him with surprise and excitement on his face, “They told me I’m in…” Henry looked at him and said, “Let’s go,” and just like that Herbert’s career was underway.
In that game, Justin Herbert took the defending champs to overtime. The Former Oregon Duck rushed for his first touchdown then became the first quarterback to run and throw for a score in the first half of their debut since 1954. By the end of the game, he passed for the fourth-most yards (311) in their debut since 1970. His 311 passing yards and QB rating 94.4% in this game were for more yards and a better passer rating better than the league’s defending MVP. Almost immediately after the final whistle blew, the speculation began about how could, this kid from the historic PAC 12, could be.
Herbert stared the next couple of games and continued to impress, before being named the starting quarterback of the Los Angeles Chargers. Throughout the season Herbert became the youngest quarterback in NFL history to throw 30 touchdown passes in a single season. By doing it at 22 years and 299 days old, he broke 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson’s record of 30 TDs at 22 years and 339 days old.
In this remarkable season, Justin Herbert also passed Carson Wentz’s rookie record of 379 completions in a season with 396. Herbert then eclipsed former NFL MVP Cam Newton’s place, on the Rookie Passing yards list by throwing for 4,336 yards. This put him in 2nd place behind Andrew Luck’s rookie total of 4,374 yards.
Herbert finished the season with, an NFL rookie record, 31 passing touchdowns, and 5 rushing Touchdowns. Additionally, he passed for 300-plus passing yards eight times and threw for three-plus touchdowns six times. He achieved another Rookie record by passing for multiple touchdowns in 10 games this past season, which included a record seven consecutive and four consecutive games with three-plus touchdown passes, none of which has been seen before in the NFL.
Furthermore, this young quarterback threw a touchdown pass in each of his first 10 games, which is the second-longest streak to open a career. He also finished the season tied for No. 1 in the NFL this season
with eight completions of 50-plus yards and ranked fourth with a rookie-record 289.1 passing yards per game. Only he and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, are the only players ever to eclipse 4,000 passing yards through the first 14 games of a career.
Justin’s game-worn jersey is now being displayed in Canton, from his Week 11 game when he became the 1st rookie with at least 2 TD passes in 7 consecutive games. This season Herbert also tied Rivers on the list of Chargers QBs with seven or more games with at least three passing TDs in a season. An indication of Justin receiving the NFL Offensive Rookie of the year award could’ve been seen by the number of times Herbert won the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week Award. He Won that award 8 times in the past season only Ben Roethlisberger has won this Fans Award times at 9.
In addition to being named AP Rookie NFL of the Year for the 2020 season, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was named 2020 Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA). Herbert is the first Chargers player to ever receive PFWA Rookie of the Year honors in 57 seasons.
When asked about which one of these records was most rewarding to him, as modestly as his been all season Justin said, “If I had to give you and answer, I’d probably say the touchdowns one (record). Because, I don’t think there’s anything better than going down and celebrating with your team in the endzone. Being able to throw touchdowns and run for them, you get to celebrate with you guys and I don’t think there’s anything better than that!”
The emergence of Justin Herbert made the Head Coaching role of the Chargers the premier job of the offseason. It will fun to see how the plan Brandon Staley and Joe Lombardy have for Herbert’s sophomore season in the NFL. Kindly share your thoughts on what stood out to you about either of these coaches and how you see the team with me by reaching out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport. Or forward any suggestions on what topics or angles you would like to see discussed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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