The last five Heisman Trophy winners have all posted strong first halves in the 2020 NFL season with Cincinnati rookie QB and 2019 Heisman winner Joe Burrow looking as much like a seasoned veteran as the others.
While quarterback predecessors Kyler Murray (2019), Baker Mayfield (2018) and Lamar Jackson (2017) are all leading teams in the playoff hunt – as is running back Derrick Henry (2015), Burrow and the Bengals stand at 2-5-1. But that doesn’t remotely tell the story.
Burrow ranks eighth in the NFL in passing yards (2,272) on 221-of-330 passing (67.0%) – the most completions of any NFL QB through the first eight games of their career – with 11 TDs against five interceptions. He has helped the Bengals already match their 2019 win total while adding a tie and four of the five Cincinnati losses have been by five points or less.
Burrow, who also has rushed for three scores, is 13th in passing grade among all NFL starters despite his struggling offensive line.
Meanwhile, Murray (Arizona) and Mayfield (Cleveland) have led their respective teams to 5-3 starts while Jackson has Baltimore at 6-2.
Burrow’s 2,272 yards passing are the most of the Heisman-winning group while Murray (2,130) is 12th in the league.
Murray leads the NFL in rushing yards (543) and has eight rushing scores to go with his 16 TD passes. Jackson is the league’s second-leading rushing QB (469) with 3 TDs on the ground, 12 through the air.
Henry (2015), meanwhile, continue to grind away as Tennessee’s workhorse. He is the NFL’s second-leading ground gainer with 843 rushing yards on an NFL-high 182 carries (4.6 average) to go with eight rushing touchdowns, well on his way to third straight 1,000-yard season.
Mark Ingram (2009), a bit banged up this season, is set to return to the Ravens lineup. He has rushed for 225 yards and two scores this year.
Cam Newton (2010), in his first year in New England, has the Patriots at 3-5. He has thrown for 1,417 yards while rushing for 314 yards.