The Cincinnati Bengals shocked the world on NFL’s Championship Sunday, upsetting the two-time defending AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs 27-24 in overtime. During the game, All-Pro rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase set yet another record as he and his college quarterback Joe Burrow staked their claim to the title of most dangerous QB/WR duo in the league.
The Cincinnati Bengals pulled off a massive upset over the Kansas City Chiefs to make the Super Bowl
Not many gave the Cincinnati Bengals a chance to upset the Kansas City Chiefs and make the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance since 1989. Las Vegas bookmakers installed Patrick Mahomes’ squad as a touchdown favorite over Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase’s crew.
Vegas and the public looked smart in the first half of the AFC Championship game. The home team took a 21-10 lead into the locker room at halftime.
However, in the second half, the 2021 “Who Dey?” Bengals showed up.
Cincinnati kicker Evan McPherson hit a field goal, then Mahomes threw an uncharacteristic interception on the third drive of the half. Burrow hit Chase on a two-yard TD pass and, after a two-point conversion, the score was even at 21.
The teams traded field goals in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime. Then, after losing the coin toss like the Buffalo Bills did the week before, the Bengals D picked off Mahomes again, setting up another McPherson game-winning field goal.
The upstart Bengals are now, shockingly, headed to the Super Bowl, and it would never have happened if the team didn’t select Burrow’s old partner in crime out of LSU No. 5 overall in this year’s draft.
Ja’Marr Chase set yet another record in the AFC Championship Game
After Ja’Marr Chase’s first game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the rookie WR’s jersey, pants, cleats, and gloves went straight to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. That’s because Chase’s 11 catches for 266 yards and three touchdowns broke the single-game rookie receiving record.
The Buffalo Bills’ Jerry Butler set the previous high in 1979 with his 10-catch, 255-yard, four TD game vs. the New York Jets.
Chase’s regular season ended a week later, and he added several more records to his resume.
The former LSU Tiger’s 1,455 yards set a Cincinnati Bengals franchise record, besting Chad Johnson’s 1,440 yards in 2007. He also broke his Tigers teammate Justin Jefferson’s record for most receiving yards as a rookie. The Minnesota Vikings wideout put up 1,400 yards in his inaugural 2020 campaign.
The records didn’t stop falling in the postseason. Chase had three excellent games in his first taste of the playoffs. He went for nine catches and 116 yards in the Wild Card Round vs. the Las Vegas Raiders and had five grabs for 109 yards against the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round.
In the AFC Championship Game vs. the Chiefs, Chase’s line was five catches for 65 yards and a TD. That all adds up to 290 yards, a new rookie postseason record. This total moves St. Louis Rams rookie WR Tory Holt’s 249-yard mark from 1999 down to second all-time.
Chase and Joe Burrow put the NFL on notice this year
Joe Burrow just turned 25 and is in his second NFL season. Ja’Marr Chase is a 21-year-old rookie. Together, they just got the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl.
This is bad news for every team in the AFC and the NFL as a whole.
After just 20 games together, Burrow and Chase may be the most dangerous QB/WR duo in the league. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, and Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams might have something to say about that, but if Burrow and Chase aren’t the best, they’re pretty darn close.
These two, along with 25-year-old RB Joe Mixon, 23-year-old Tee Higgins, and 38-year-old head coach Zac Taylor mean that this offense should not only be good for a long time but get better in the next few years.
On the defensive side of the ball, offseason free-agent signing DE Trey Hendrickson was fifth in the league in sacks, and the unit stepped up in the AFC Championship game and flustered Patrick Mahomes when they needed to most.
The 2021 Bengals should have lost to the Tennessee Titans or maybe the Chiefs and felt great about their future with the young talent they have. Instead, Burrow, Chase, Taylor, and the rest made the Super Bowl in just year two of the organization’s latest rebuild.
Now, the future’s so bright in Cincinnati, it’s no wonder Burrow wears those shades.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference