Life in the NFL is hard, as rookies everywhere are finding out. While in your typical year rookies have the preseason to be phased into the realm of professional football, the rookie class of 2020 had to endure a baptism by fire. They were playing for keeps right out of the gate and are now major contributors for their respective teams.
Which rookie performers were able to make the most of their action in Week 16? We, along with our partners at Panini, are recognizing the best of the best each week. Here are the Offensive Rookies of the Week from each conference for Week 16 of the 2020 NFL season.
AFC OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
QB Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert has continued to shine and perform exceptionally well in spite of the team around him underperforming. He has proven to be the franchise quarterback the Chargers hoped he would be when they took him No. 6 overall. On Sunday, he set a new rookie record for passing touchdowns (28). He was 21-for-33 for 253 yards and one touchdown—while missing both Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry. On the season, he has been nothing short of outstanding. He has completed 66% of his passes for more than 4,000 yards. The Chargers utilize his services by throwing the ball often. However, he has only thrown 10 interceptions. He is only five completions away from Carson Wentz’s rookie record and 340 passing yards away from Andrew Luck’s rookie record—and he has only played in 14 games this season. While the Chargers have nine losses, they have been in every game, mainly due to their quarterback, who should be the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
NFC OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
RB A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers
The Packers beat the Titans on Sunday night in a snowy game at Lambeau Field. Obviously, Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams were exceptional, as they always are. However, a rookie enjoyed a breakout game, leaving Packers fans optimistic about the future. Entering Week 16, A.J. Dillon had 24 rushes for 115 yards combined for the entire season. On Sunday, he had 21 carries for 124 yards and scored two touchdowns. He averaged more than 5.4 yards per carry. It was the highlight of the season for the rookie who had missed significant time this year on the COVID-19 list. He outrushed superstar Derrick Henry on the day despite starting the game as the backup running back to Aaron Jones.