Super Bowl Preview: The Case for Burrow’s Bengals
The Bengals will have their hands full with the Rams and their talented team, and either way this game will be incredibly exciting to watch. Both teams having three-headed monsters for their WR corps helps, and their performance will likely dictate the 2021 Super Bowl champion.
Cooper Kupp and Ja’Marr Chase are obvious dominant WR1s who are likely among the top five most-talented receivers in the NFL at the moment. Odell Beckham Jr. and Tee Higgins are exceptionally gifted WR2s in their own right, and would likely be WR1s on other teams.
What a legendary first season ?
Congrats to @Real10jayy__, your 2021 #PepsiROY! See you at the Super Bowl ? #WhoDey pic.twitter.com/5rr6mOmGWv
— Pepsi (@pepsi) February 5, 2022
Throw in Van Jefferson and Tyler Boyd, two WR3s who are more like WR2s, and this game has all the makings of a potential Super Bowl shootout like we haven’t seen in years.
Seeing Chase on this stage is a mouth-watering prospect alone, as he might be the most fun player to watch in the league.
He possesses every quality of a top receiver a team could dream for. He’s one of the fastest players on the field, he’s got great hands (contrary to pre-season rumors), he can break tackles after the catch using a variety of creative and athletic techniques, and he can leap to the sky and rip 50/50 balls away from defenders with ease.
Ja’Marr Chase plays like Randy Moss and Tyreek Hill in a blender, and it is nothing short of beautiful to watch.
Check out this play from the regular season where Chase manages to snag the pass, and throws a defender off of him while spinning away from another on his way to one of his longest and most impressive touchdowns of the season:
In the regular season, Chase led all rookies and ranked 4th in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,455, the most ever by a rookie in the Super Bowl era. He also reached the end zone 13 times, 3rd-most in the league during the regular season, and grabbed 81 balls on the year (3rd-best amongst rookies).
Hilariously enough, Chase was likely under targeted and will probably take a huge step forward in 2022 as he led all NFL rookie receivers in yards per catch with 18.0, and was 2nd amongst all eligible WRs to only Deebo Samuel who finished with 18.2.
With Chase’s speed, sometimes all it takes is one step or juke to turn a 1-yard pass into a spectacular 50+ gain or a TD:
Watch on CBS pic.twitter.com/EDohbrWLoq
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 22, 2022
In Week 17, Chase recorded 266 receiving yards in a win over the Kansas City Chiefs, marking the most ever by a rookie in a game.
Chase’s QB, the 2nd-year dynamo that is Joe Burrow, has been equally impressive this NFL season in his own right. Burrow has looked like the ideal franchise quarterback this year, and that’s an understatement.
The moment is never too big for Burrow, and he shows remarkable poise with an ability to hit any throw on the field even while facing fearsome pressure in his face.
He displays underrated mobility and pocket awareness, often ripping defensive lineman from his body to escape a sack or make a clutch throw.
Check out this key play from the 4th quarter against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship where Burrow managed to duck under one sack, spin away from another, and then break the final tackle attempt on his way to a first down:
JOE BURROW. TOO COLD.
?: #CINvsKC on CBS
?: https://t.co/dKNUFkxkbU pic.twitter.com/JuYFEWc7Zo
— NFL (@NFL) January 30, 2022
Burrow led all eligible QBs in just his 2nd season in completion percentage by completing a whopping 70% of his passes. He also led all eligible QBs in yards per attempt with 8.9. Burrow, was 2nd in QB rating to only Aaron Rodgers with 108.3, finished 3rd in yards per game, 3rd in TD%, and finished the season 6th in yards.
Burrow did all this despite not cracking the top-10 in pass attempts, and despite a woeful offensive line that allowed him to be sacked a league-leading 51 times.
Playoff teams haven’t done much better slowing the Burrow/Chase connection down though, and that connection will be critical for a Bengals victory.
Ja’Marr Chase had 9 grabs for 116 yards in the Wild Card game vs. the Las Vegas Raiders, 5 catches for 109 yards against the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round, and finally notched 5 more receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown vs. the Chiefs during the AFC Championship.
Do the @Bengals have the best WR trio in the playoffs? ?
?: #CINvsTEN — Saturday 4:30pm ET on CBS
?: NFL app pic.twitter.com/vOj7BXyEbc
— NFL (@NFL) January 21, 2022
Chase’s 290 playoff receiving yards, are now a new rookie postseason record, surpassing Los Angeles Rams rookie receiver Tory Holt’s 249-yard mark all the way back from 1999, making his Super Bowl matchup against the Rams even more tantalizing and ironic.
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saquon = goat