“I thought he was dropping everything?”
That was his quip after rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase finished his mandatory time with the media.
The first wide receiver selected in the 2021 NFL Draft struggled to catch the football throughout the preseason.
LOVE this from Joe Burrow, who took the podium today just after Ja’Marr Chase.
“I thought he was dropping everything?” pic.twitter.com/9NyHbrrp3V
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 13, 2021
Before their season opener at home, Chase dropped four balls in two preseason games.
Chase attributed his woes in fielding NFL balls to various reasons, from lack of concentration and adjusting to the pro game.
He also cited differences between the football used in college and the big league.
However, those explanations sounded more like excuses.
But after his debut performance in the NFL, that knock against his game is gone.
Prove 'em wrong 1️⃣ pic.twitter.com/kqYMjiOuIM
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) September 13, 2021
The former LSU Tiger caught five balls in six attempts for 101 yards and a touchdown.
He placed the league on notice that he is way past his catching struggles.
Instead, he must be accounted for on every snap because of his ability to make the big play.
His first NFL touchdown was a thing of beauty, and it came as the first half was about to end.
On first-and-ten at the 50-yard line, Chase lined up at Burrow’s far left.
Burrow received the ball out of the shotgun and made a four-step drop.
With pressure coming, he found Chase leaving Bashaud Breeland behind on a go route.
Initially, Chase started slowly before bursting into full speed.
The pinpoint throw resulted in a 14-7 lead for the Bengals.
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) September 12, 2021
Cincinnati finally has the personnel to execute such home-run plays, and Bengals fans can’t wait for more.
Their offense won’t struggle like it did last season.
More importantly, Chase left all doubters speechless after his impressive opening day performance.
Will Anyone Chase Ja’Marr?
Aside from that touchdown catch, Chase also had receptions of 17, 15, 13, and six yards.
Chase’s performance ranks first among rookie wide receivers selected in the first round of the 2021 draft.
Miami’s Jaylen Waddle finished with four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown in their 17-16 win over the New England Patriots.
Meanwhile, DeVonta Smith of the Philadelphia Eagles had six receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown in their 32-6 domination against the Atlanta Falcons.
— WeAreNFLSU (@WeAreNFLSU) September 12, 2021
Kadarius Toney had -2 yards on two catches for the New York Giants.
Rashod Bateman, selected No. 27 overall by the Baltimore Ravens, is on injured reserve after undergoing groin surgery.
Chase has the opportunity to impress yet again in Week 2.
But standing in the Bengals’ way are the Chicago Bears, which has one of the better defensive units in the NFL.
— NFL (@NFL) July 20, 2021
Did Chase benefit from beginners’ luck against Minnesota, or can he get another 100-yard game at Chicago?
Having another strong performance makes him a strong candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Likewise, he can drop the mic for good regarding his struggles with the football.