Los Angeles Chargers 2020 Season Awards

Chargers 2020 Season
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The Los Angeles Chargers 2020 season had a lot of bumps and heartbreak along the way, but it did give fans hope for the future thanks to rookie quarterback sensation Justin Herbert. They started 3-9 with multiple blown second-half leads but finished the season at 7-9 with four straight wins. There’s a lot to look forward to. Herbert wasn’t the only bright spot of the season either, and here we’ll be looking at some of those. Let’s hand out some awards for the 2020 Chargers season.

Los Angeles Chargers 2020 Season Team Awards

Most Valuable Player (and Offensive Rookie of the Year): Justin Herbert

You could pretty much hand all the offense-related awards to Justin Herbert. We’ll still put someone else in at Offensive Player of the Year too for the sake of recognition, but none of the other offensive rookies made as much of an impact to garner that level of recognition.

It’s rather astounding that the Chargers were able to go from one top-level quarterback in Philip Rivers to another immediately. Most teams do not get that lucky. More noteworthy, Herbert looks to have a higher ceiling than Rivers ever did. He broke a ton of rookie records, namely both the passing touchdown and total touchdown record. He finished with 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions (plus five rushing touchdowns).

Herbert may have finished with possibly the best season for a rookie quarterback ever and is almost certainly a lock for the real-life OROY award (Justin Jefferson is the only real competition, but this award tends to heavily favor quarterbacks). There’s not a lot else that can be said at this point that hasn’t already been said about Herbert – the future is very bright for the Chargers with him as the quarterback.

Offensive Player of the Year: Keenan Allen

Much like when we did this last year, wide receiver Keenan Allen may not be the actual top offensive player, but he still deserves recognition – after all, he was one of this team’s only two Pro Bowlers on the year. He quickly became Herbert’s go-to target, which included a lot more of security-blanket-short-pass throws than in years past. The result was a year where he had 100 receptions in only 13 games, tied for seventh-best in the league… but only 992 yards and a career-low 9.9 yards per reception.

Still, Allen tied his career-high for touchdowns with eight and pretty clearly would have been a 1,000-yard season with he hadn’t gotten banged up towards the end of the season and missed a couple of games. Allen remains one of the very best route-runners in the league, and he probably loves having Herbert throw passes to him as much as the fans are going to enjoy watching that connection for a while.

Defensive Player of the Year: Joey Bosa

Some things haven’t changed. Joey Bosa is still the premier defensive player on this team, terrorizing quarterbacks even with his pass-rushing buddy Melvin Ingram unavailable for a lot of the year. Bosa missed four games himself, which may have skewed his stats a little – but he finished with 39 combined tackles (29 solo), 7.5 sacks, and one pass deflection. His Week 12 game against the Buffalo Bills likely contributed a lot to him getting the only other Chargers Pro Bowl berth, as he got three sacks and a fumble recovery in that game.

The other part of what makes him continue to deserve praise is how he continued to play his best despite morale seeming to drop around the team for a while. It’s a good thing that both he and Keenan Allen got paid because they’re the two biggest cornerstones of this team right now besides Herbert himself.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Kenneth Murray

This one is almost a default award because the only other rookie drafted on defense this past season was Alohi Gilman, who saw very minimal action. The few undrafted rookies didn’t make a significant impact either. Still, Kenneth Murray had a fine rookie season. He got forced into a larger role sooner than expected due in part to Drue Tranquill’s early season-ending injury, and it did kind of seem at times like he wasn’t ready at first.

However, he improved down the stretch and finished with 107 combined tackles (68 solo), five tackles for a loss, one sack, and three pass deflections. Oddly enough, on a day when the Chargers suffered one of their worst losses in franchise history in a 45-0 blowout to the New England Patriots in Week 13, he had his best game of the season, getting 12 solo tackles, two tackles for a loss, and his lone sack of the season. Murray looks like a quite solid building block on that defense.

Most Improved Player: Jerry Tillery

Jerry Tillery, 2019’s first-round draft pick for the Chargers, was a bit of a disappointment in his rookie year and already had some fans wondering about whether he was a bust. While he still isn’t entirely living up to his draft pick level, he did a fair amount better in 2020. He had 30 combined tackles (19 solo), three tackles for a loss, three sacks, two pass deflections, two forced fumbles, and 14 pass deflections. He was more aggressive this year – and that did come with its problems, such as unnecessary penalties. There are still things to work on with him, but he showed plenty more promise in his sophomore effort.

Breakout Player of the Year: Jalen Guyton

Jalen Guyton was an undrafted rookie in 2019, but he didn’t get any catches until 2020. He ended up turning into the #3 wide receiver for the Chargers and their primary deep threat, which worked pretty well with Justin Herbert throwing 40-50 yard dimes. Guyton finished with 28 catches for 511 yards and three touchdowns. He had a couple of drops down the stretch, but he was overall a pretty reliable deep pass threat. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of role he plays going forward, given that there are some other young and talented pass-catchers on the team fighting for playing time.

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