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Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase On Track For Best Rookie Receiver Season In NFL History

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The Bengals entered the 2021 NFL Draft with two options: protect quarterback Joe Burrow or give him another weapon.

Cincinnati went with the latter, and it’s been a slam dunk through seven games this season. The 5th overall pick became receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who lit up the Baltimore defense on Sunday in the Bengals’ 41-17 victory. Chase finished with eight receptions for 201 yards, highlighted by a hitch route that he took 82 yards to the house in the third quarter. The 201 yards are the most by a rookie receiver in a single game since the Buccaneers’ Mike Evans went for 209 in 2014.

Chase now has 754 yards on the season, the most from a rookie receiver through seven games. The 21-year-old wideout is on pace to shatter a multitude of rookie records, putting him on pace to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Outside of his personal achievements, Chase has totally changed the dynamic of the Bengals offense, putting the rebuild ahead of schedule. Once bottom dwellers in the NFL, Cincinnati (5-2) is now in first place in the AFC North and the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

A combined score of 65-27 in wins over the Ravens and Steelers on the road has been an unexpected surprise based on prior matchups. Last season, the Bengals dropped road games to Pittsburgh and Baltimore by a combined score of 63-13. But those were the old Bengals, not the new ones who are knocking on the door of the NFL’s elite.

It feels like eons ago that Chase couldn’t catch a pass in the preseason, prompting many to question what his NFL future would look like. Chase has put those concerns to rest and might be a top-five receiver in the league already. He’s been that special. And he’s made everyone forget that the Bengals passed up on Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell in the draft, a move that was criticized league wide.

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in political science. Nick is a life-long sports fan who is proud to say he suffered through 15 years of Bucs futility to witness a Super Bowl victory in 2020. Nick has a passion for writing and is proud to represent OutKick. Follow me on Twitter @NickGeddesNews and on Instagram @nick.geddes.

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  1. Thank you to Jamar Chase for his efforts to make me humble. I said before the draft he would not be the same player after missing an entire year of football, choosing to sit out last year at LSU, and here we are. I guess he might turn out alright after all. Looks like it’s crow for dinner here. Better keep my day job.

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