Week 18 of the 2021-22 NFL season is upon us and one interesting race for a major award is Offensive Rookie of the Year as Cincinnati receiver Ja’Marr Chase is the new -225 favorite over New England quarterback Mac Jones (+175) on the NFL odds.
Who will win the Rookie of the Year Award?
Burrow, who had 525 passing yards and four touchdown passes in Week 16, is the second quarterback all-time with at least 450 passing yards and four touchdown passes in consecutive games, joining Jameis Winston (Weeks 14-15, 2019).
With his 266 receiving yards on Sunday, Chase surpassed Jerry Butler (255 receiving yards on September 23, 1979) for the most receiving yards in a single game by a rookie ever. The 266 also were a Bengals franchise record for any player. Chase has 1,429 receiving yards this season and surpassed Justin Jefferson (1,400 receiving yards in 2020) for the most receiving yards by a rookie ever.
Chase, who also had 201 receiving yards in Week 7, is the first rookie ever and the fifth player in the Super Bowl era to record multiple games with at least 200 receiving yards in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Calvin Johnson (2011 & 2012) and Don Maynard (1968) as well as Josh Gordon (2013) and Alshon Jeffery (2013).
Chase now has 13 TD catches on the year. The only rookie to ever have more rec TD? Hall of Famer Randy Moss, who had 17 in 1998. The Bengals selected Chase No. 5 overall, believing his explosive playmaking could make Cincy’s offense unstoppable. They showed why Sunday.
“If you’re going to play him one-on-one, a lot of times it’s going to be a long day for you,” Burrow said of his teammate. “He’s a great player, and he’s going to be a great player for a long time. Great person, too. He doesn’t care if he gets 260 yards and three touchdowns or if he gets zero yards and everyone else makes all the yards. Great guy to have.”
In Sunday’s blowout win over Jacksonville, Jones finished 22-of-30 for 227 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The 15th overall selection in the 2021 NFL draft outplayed the No. 1 pick, Trevor Lawrence, who went 17-of-27 for 193 yards, with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Jones struggled the two games prior while facing the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills. In both games, he was tossing turnover-worthy throws and he wasn’t nearly as consistent as he’s been all year.
“Mac is super consistent,” Coach Bill Belichick said. “Every day is really the same day for Mac. He’s always well prepared. He’s in early. He’s ready to go. He knows what we’re going to be doing, and he’s already got a head start on it. He maximizes the information that the coaches give him, maximizes the walkthroughs, the practice reps, and learns from whatever happens in those situations. He’s smart. He’s a good learner, but he’s got good instincts and good mechanics. He’s just worked hard to get better every day. A lot of consistency and great work ethic and really pays attention to details and has just improved in every area throughout the course of the year. Continues to improve on a daily basis.”
Sunday marked the 19th 10-win season for the Patriots under Belichick, and Belichick’s 20th overall as a head coach (he led the Browns to an 11-5 record in 1994). That ties Belichick with the legendary Don Shula for the most 10-win seasons ever by an NFL head coach.
Both the Bengals and Patriots are in the AFC playoffs. Cincinnati closes at Cleveland and New England at Miami. Burrow was not on the field at the end of the Chiefs game. He said he aggravated a right knee injury he suffered in a Week 13 loss against the Chargers. After dancing in the locker room and smoking his celebratory cigar from running back Joe Mixon, Burrow downplayed the issue and said it was “nothing serious.”