2. Justin Herbert’s season was rarer for a quarterback than Justin Jefferson’s for wide receivers
It can be a bit tough to directly compare a quarterback season and a wide receiver season, especially when both guys did set a new bar for rookies. The best way to do this is to compare Herbert to his peers at quarterback and compare Jefferson to his peers at wide receiver.
When doing so, it becomes clear that the kind of season Herbert had was rarer than the kind of season Jefferson had. The proof is in the pudding.
Justin Herbert finished with 4,336 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and completed 66.6% of his passes. Since the NFL-AFL merger, there have been 32 instances (counting Herbert) in which a quarterback finished with 4,300+ yards, 30+ touchdowns and at least a 66% completion percentage.
Fourteen quarterbacks (counting Herbert) make up those 32 instances. Let’s look at Jefferson.
Jefferson finished with 1,400 receiving yards, 88 receptions and seven touchdowns. Since the AFL-NFL merger, there have been 78 instances (counting Jefferson) in which a player finished with 1,400+ receiving yards, 80+ receptions and 7+ touchdowns.
Forty-nine players (counting Jefferson) make up those 78 instances.
So in short, Herbert put together a season that only 13 other quarterbacks since the merger have been able to pull off while Jefferson put together a season that 49 other players were able to pull off.
Oh, and did we mention Herbert only started 15 games? He is one of just four quarterbacks to accomplish those numbers in 15 games, joining Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.
Quite the list.