Football Team

Gibson could win Offensive Rookie of the Year with strong December

Football Team

As far as bizarre sports stats go, this is one of the bizarre-est: The last 13 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award winners have come from the NFC. 

Antonio Gibson could very well be one more standout month away from becoming the 14th. 

With five weeks left in the season, Justin Herbert undoubtedly remains the favorite for the honor. He's thrown multiple scores in seven of his 10 starts and he's top 10 in terms of passing yardage despite not being in Los Angeles' lineup for the opener. 

However, thanks to his recent stretch, Gibson has definitely entered the chat. 

After not topping 55 rushing yards in any of his first six appearances, the running back has posted stat lines of 128, 94 and 115 on the ground in three of his last five matchups. Thanks to those outbursts, he's now averaging 4.6 yards-per-attempt and is up to 645 yards overall.

Now, while his performance in that area is becoming more consistent, one thing Gibson has done all season is find the end zone. That's something he did at Memphis and it's something he's brought to Washington as well.

His three-touchdown explosion in Dallas on Thanksgiving — which is the kind of epic day he needed to really become a part of the OROY mix — pushed his TD total on the year to 11. He's currently behind just Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook when it comes to end zone trips, and the latest reports suggest that those two dudes are pretty damn good at football.

 

Then there's his receiving. It's true that JD McKissic has done more work out of the backfield for Washington in the passing game, though Gibson has contributed there, too. He has 32 grabs through 11 contests, and those receptions have gone for 233 yards. 

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So, the third-rounder has 878 scrimmage yards to his name to go along with his habit of finding paydirt. It's unreasonable to expect him to replicate what he did versus the Cowboys through the schedule's final month, but he is showing some real signs of improvement at a spot that's still so new to him, meaning he might be due for a furious finish.

Let's say, conservatively, he tacks on another 80 rushing and receiving yards in each of Washington's last five times out and he scores, hm, three more times. That would give him nearly 1,300 total yards and 14 touchdowns in his first pro campaign. And that's the conservative estimate!

It's necessary to say that Herbert isn't Gibson's lone competition, of course (plus none of this will occur unless Herbert slips somewhat). Aside from the QB, Minnesota's Justin Jefferson, Jacksonville's James Robinson, Pittsburgh's Chase Claypool and Kansas City's Clyde Edwards-Helaire all have a shot as well. That crew of rookies are all excelling in their own rights.

It feels like Gibson, though, is peaking, and the hype around him will only grow if that continues and he also acts as a vital part of a Washington playoff push. 

When Washington landed Chase Young in April, many assumed they had selected someone who'd pick up some hardware when his first year wrapped up. Young has been outstanding on defense, but it turns out the guy who was nabbed two rounds after him is the one who might need to clear out shelf space soon.