Ja’Marr Chase set the single-season rookie receiving record this year, but there were some external factors that helped him break the previous mark.
Chase’s impressive campaign broke a record so new; the display in Canton had not even been completed yet. Chase bested his LSU teammate Justin Jefferson with 1,455 receiving yards in the 17-game season, but if they were to play the same number of games, Jefferson would not have lost his title.
In 16 games at an 87.5 yards per game pace, Jefferson would have finished his 2020 campaign with 1,488.
Whether it’s a 17- or 18-Week season, Chase became the fifth player in Super Bowl history to surpass 1,300 yards in a rookie season, with Odell Beckham Jr’s 2014 season, Anquan Boldin in 2003, and Randy Moss in 1993 qualifying.
Of the five, who truly had the best season?
Chase narrowly loses his record to Boldin despite still holding the highest yards per reception of the group, as the inflation of receptions per game significantly boost Boldin’s total yards.
Boldin was ahead of his time with his receptions, as he was the only rookie receiver in NFL history with over 100 receptions in a season before the end of this past season, so regardless of how many yards per catch Boldin was able to produce, bringing in 112 catches in a single-season will usually allow you to rack up yards.
This comparison also reminds us how OBJ proved to be a legit WR1 in year number one, hauling in a group-leading 7 receptions and over 100 yards per game, which kept him in the grouping despite playing just 12 games.
While Randy Moss’ jump did not place him atop the receiving yard list, his ability to reach the endzone makes up for that, keeping the rookie touchdown record as he scored nearly a quarter of the time in his first season.