Throughout the first seven weeks, the Cincinnati Bengals have been one of the league’s biggest surprises.
The Bengals have leapt out to a strong 5-2 start that has them primed for an AFC North division title bid and potentially much more. Second-year quarterback Joe Burrow has built off his rookie campaign by showcasing that he holds the potential as the franchise's cornerstone piece.
Ja'Marr Chase is quickly becoming an elite wideout for the Bengals
Burrow is currently sixth with 1,956 passing yards, tied for fourth with 17 touchdown passes, and holds a 108.9 passer rating. He’s posted at least two touchdown passes in each game this season while recording back-to-back three-touchdown performances. It’s topped with a career-high 416 passing yards in the impressive win over the Baltimore Ravens.
The 24-year-old is on pace to record 4,471 passing yards and 39 touchdown passes. That would shatter Andy Dalton’s single-season record of 33 touchdown passes. However, Burrow’s success has been significantly impacted by his LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase’s stellar performance in his rookie campaign.
Chase continues to elevate his play with each passing week as he breaks another NFL record. His 754 receiving through his first seven career games sets the all-time mark. He became the fifth rookie since the AFL-NFL merger to notch multiple performances with at least 150 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Chase had a monstrous outing with eight catches for 201 receiving yards and a touchdown in the win over the Ravens. That made him the second-youngest player to have 200 receiving yards in a single game behind only Mike Evans. Chase’s strong start puts him second behind Los Angeles Rams wideout Cooper Kupp for the league lead in receiving yards.
The 21-year-old is on the trajectory to record 80 receptions for 1,723 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. He would blow past the single-season rookie record for receiving yards held by Bill Groman (1,473) and rank second in receiving touchdowns to Hall of Famer Randy Moss (17).
Chase has already joined Moss in the record books this season. These two are the only players since 1992 to have 500 or more receiving yards and five touchdowns in their first six career games. The Bengals have found tremendous success this season behind their dynamic duo of Burrow and Chase.
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It’s placed a bright future ahead of the franchise well beyond the 2021 season. In the meantime, the Bengals hold the chance to make a serious push toward garnering much more than a playoff appearance.