Rookie of the Year debate: Has Chase passed Jones entering Week 18? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The race for the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award saw a dramatic swing in Week 17 thanks to a historic performance.
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones entered Sunday’s games as the betting favorite for the award. He played quite well, too, throwing for 227 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a dominant 50-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Even though Jones was excellent, his performance was nowhere near as impressive as what we saw from Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
Chase had one of the best games by a wide receiver in league history. He tallied 11 receptions for 266 yards and three touchdowns as the Bengals upset the Kansas City Chiefs to clinch the AFC North division title.
One of his three touchdowns was this 69-yard catch-and-run that will be shown on highlight reels for a long time:
This incredible outing from Chase has vaulted him ahead of Jones in PointsBet’s betting odds for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award with one game remaining in the regular season:
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, CIN: -210
Mac Jones, QB, NE: +155
Chase ranks fourth among all wide receivers with 1,429 receiving yards, and he ranks second with 13 touchdowns. He’s also hauled in 79 receptions. Chase has five 100-yard games this season, including two 200-yard performances. He has scored a touchdown in nine of his 16 games played.
Wide receivers rarely win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. In fact, the last wideout to receive this trophy was Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014. Since 2000, only Anquan Boldin (2003), Percy Harvin (2009) and Beckham (2014) have won the award as wide receivers.
Chase is absolutely deserving, though. He’s not just the best rookie wideout, he’s one of the top players at the position regardless of experience. The Bengals would not be in first place without him.
Jones also has been fantastic in leading the Patriots back to the playoffs. That said, the strengths of the Patriots are their defense and rushing attack.
Chase is having the most outstanding season of any rookie, and it’s unlikely that will change with Week 18’s results.