Is Ja’Marr Chase In Line To Become The 2021-22 Rookie Of The Year?
In his first season with the NFL, Ja’Marr Chase managed to set 3 NFL records and 2 Bengal Franchise records. Is he on the way to winning the Super Bowl in his first year as well?
Ja’Marr Chase is a former Fred Biletnikoff Award-winner, who now plays as a Wide Receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. He received the 4th most yards in the league this year and broke multiple records as a rookie.
Ja’Marr Chase now finds himself in the Super Bowl his rookie season. He is at +2500 to win the MVP (see Super Bowl betting odds to see other Super Bowl LVI MVP candidates).
Today, we are going to look at this record breaking year for Chase, and at the things he could do in the future.
The College Years
Were there any signs that Chase was going to have such a huge impact on the NFL? Well, yes, there were actually – just look at his college career.
Chase attended Louisiana State University (LSU) and played for the LSU Tigers. He was their Wide Receiver in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He wore the number 1 for the team.
He played 2 seasons with the team before entering the 2021 Draft. He could not enter the draft until 3 years after he had left high school. His first season was pretty average, but his second season was truly something special.
In 2019, the Tigers became CFP National Champions. In that season, he made 84 catches for 1,780 – averaging 21.2 per catch. In 14 games, Chase scored 20 touchdowns in 14 games.
That season he was named a unanimous All-American and was awarded the Fred Biletnikoff Award, named after the former Florida State and Oakland Raider great.
Chase ended up taking his final year off playing college football – partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic and partly because he wanted to avoid getting injured before the Draft.
2021-22 Season With The Cincinnati Bengals
Chase was the first pick from the Bengals in the 2021 Draft – he was picked 5th overall. However, many expected him to be picked 1st. He was signed for $30 million and became the first Bengal player to wear the number 1 jersey.
Chase started every single game for the Bengals in both the regular season and the postseason. He was named Rookie of the Month in September, after making 4 touchdown passes in three games. He is the youngest player in the history of the NFL to do this.
In his very first match for the Bengals, Chase achieved 101 receiving yards and 1 touchdown pass.
By Week 7, he had racked up 754 receiving yards – this is the most any NFL player has ever done in their first 7 games.
In Week 17, he totaled 266 receiving yards. This broke two records – the Bengals’ franchise record for most receiving yards in a single game. He also broke the NFL record for most receiving yards by a rookie in a signal game. In the next game, he broke the Bengals’ franchise record for most receiving yards in a single season.
Chase ended the regular season with 81 catches for 1455 yards – that’s an average of 18.0 yards per catch. He was the rookie who received the most yards, and he was 4th overall in the league.
He led the rookies in most receiving touchdowns – with 13 – he came 3rd overall in the league for this statistic.
The Bengals ended the season with a win-loss record of 10-7. This was enough to win them the AFC North divisional title. This was their first divisional title since 2015, and only their 10th overall.
This win meant that the team would be entering the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
Chase started all three playoff games.
During the Wild Card Round, Chase made 9 catches for 116 receiving yards and three carries for 23 yards. The team beat the Raiders 26-19. This was the first playoff game they had won since 1990.
In the Divisional Round, Chase made 5 catches for 109 receiving yards against the Titans. This made him the youngest player ever to make 100 in multiple playoff games – in a single season. The Bengals won this game 19-16.
In the AFC Conference Championship, Chase made 54 yards and a touchdown from 6 catches. This game ended 27-24 to the Bengals against the Chiefs.
This was the first time they had one the AFC Championship since 1988 and only the third time the team had done it. The Chiefs had been expected to win.
Chase ended the post-season with 279 receiving yards and one touchdown. The 279 receiving yards broke the NFL record for most rookie yards received. This record was set in 1999 by Torry Holt.
When the season started, the Bengals were at +150,000 to win the Super Bowl – this is the same odds that were given to the New York Jets. The Jets came second from the bottom of the table this year, only the Jaguars did worse than them.
It is safe to say that no one predicted this miracle run from the Bengals.
People were particularly impressed with the fact that they won the AFC North. They play in the division with the Browns, the Steelers, and the Ravens.
This was especially impressive, considering that the Bengals were the only team from the division who didn’t make it into the playoffs last season. The Bengals only won 4 games last year and came last in their division. They were the 5th worst team in the league last year.
If the Bengals beat the Rams at the Super Bowl this year then it will be their first Super Bowl victory as a franchise. Chase could be one of the few players to win the Super Bowl in his rookie year.
We think that Chase is on track to be named Rookie of the Year this year – but will he be able to compete with Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson who were both favorites to win the title at the start of the season? We think so.
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