Herbert's rise to the top of the league was sudden. Starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffered a punctured lung just before the team's Week 2 matchup, and Herbert got the ball and never gave it back.
Through 15 games, the No. 6 overall pick out of Oregon racked up 4,336 yards and 31 passing touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions with a 66.6 completion percentage. His passing touchdowns and 396 completions are rookie records, and combined with his five rushing scores, his 36 total touchdowns are a new high.
He fell eight yards short of Andrew Luck's rookie passing yard record of 4,374, but he did set new marks for 300-yard games (eight), matchups with multiple touchdown passes (10) and games with at least three touchdown tosses (six).
Herbert was a two-time Rookie of the Month honoree, a trend that pointed favorably toward his chances of winning the ultimate year-end honor. Robert Griffin III and Sam Bradford were two-time Rookie of the Month honorees, and both players were named Offensive Rookie of the Year. His nine Rookie of the Week awards tie Ben Roethlisberger's 2004 record (h/t Kevin Wade of 247Sports).
The Chargers went 7-9 this season, falling short of the playoffs and instead allowing Herbert to cap his rookie year with a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17.