The Cincinnati Bengals won a playoff game. As strange as that sounds, it happened. Cincinnati notched its first postseason victory in 31 years, taking down the Las Vegas Raiders in the Wild Card Round. Ja’Marr Chase made a huge impact on the game’s outcome once again. The rookie wide receiver’s confidence is through the roof after the historic win.
Ja’Marr Chase came up big in his NFL playoff debut
The NFL playoffs can be too big of a stage for some rookies, but not Ja’Marr Chase.
The LSU product has been on a tear throughout the 2021 NFL season, breaking several records in the process. Chase’s impressive rookie season continued into the wild-card game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Chase led all pass-catchers with nine receptions for 116 yards. While he didn’t get into the end zone, he was very effective. The first-year wideout made timely catches to help extend drives and lead to more points.
The 21-year-old receiver was oozing with confidence in his postgame press conference.
“I don’t think I can be stopped,” Chase said per The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr.
Not many teams have been able to stop Chase or even slow him down. The Raiders had trouble with him all game long. The Harvey, Louisiana native often found himself in one-on-one situations.
After the game, Chase also spoke with NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala on his stellar performance.
“Leaving me one-one-one is the wrong thing for a team to do,” Chase said. He’s right. Ja’Marr Chase took the Raiders’ lunch, and he’s a major reason why the Bengals are moving on to the Divisional Round.
The Bengals secured their first playoff victory since the 1990 season
The city of Cincinnati was desperate for a playoff win. The last time the Bengals won a postseason game was in 1990 when they defeated the Houston Oilers in the Wild Card Round.
Ironically, Cincinnati lost to the Los Angeles Raiders in the Divisional Round that season. Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and the crew got the better of the Raiders this time around.
Even though Las Vegas made Zac Taylor’s squad sweat in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati pulled it out. The franchise needed a win like that, especially on its home turf. The Bengals have been to the NFL playoffs seven times since the 1990 season but could never make it past the first round.
Not many people saw this coming. The Bengals finished with a 4-11-1 record in 2020. Burrow was coming back from a gruesome knee injury. This was a roster filled with young and unproven talent. Somehow, things have come together for Cincinnati.
The Bengals shocked the world by winning the tightly-contested AFC North. Breaking the franchise’s 31-year drought took this season to new heights. This team is putting the league on notice and proving why it belongs.
How the rookie WR can help Cincinnati make a run
While the Cincinnati Bengals answered the prayers of their loyal fan base, they don’t want this train to stop here. Zac Taylor’s squad hopes to carry its momentum in the Divisional Round.
One AFC wild-card matchup is still on the slate, so the Bengals don’t know who they’ll face in the next round. However, it would be either the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, or Buffalo Bills.
This team will be in for a tough battle regardless of who it matches up against. To advance to the AFC Championship and beyond, the Bengals must continue to play their game.
Cincinnati boasts one of the most talented offenses in the NFL. Joe Burrow is entering the next tier of quarterbacks, and it helps that he gets to play with his college teammate. Ja’Marr Chase is already one of the league’s most dangerous pass-catchers.
Chase has been phenomenal in 2021. He broke Justin Jefferson’s rookie receiving record, amassing 1,455 yards on 81 receptions. He also surpassed Chad Johnson’s record for most yards in a single season by a Bengals receiver. The former LSU star finished third in the NFL in touchdown grabs (13).
Chase’s combination of speed, athleticism, and technique make him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. He possesses the ability to break a game open at any moment.
If the Bengals’ offense keeps making plays, this team could have a chance to make a deep playoff run.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.