Cincinnati Bengals rookies shined in Week 1 overtime win

Evan McPherson #2 and Eli Apple #20 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Evan McPherson #2 and Eli Apple #20 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

We have finally begun a new season in the NFL. Week 1 is always interesting because there’s still hope for every team, including the Cincinnati Bengals. Questions get answered, such as how will free agent signings perform? How will rookies perform?

Week 1 can be an anomaly, sometimes teams are still needing to shake off the rust of offseason. However, we can still use it as a barometer to see if a rookie has what it takes to play in the NFL.

Only two rookies played for the Bengals in Week 1 but they both made a major impact in the game, which ended as a 27-24 Cincy victory in overtime.

Ja’Marr Chase

There were a lot of question marks after Chase’s drops during the preseason. A few days ago an interview emerged where Chase gave what many perceived to be a poor excuse as to why he was dropping the ball. Then Chase came out and said the statement was taken out of context.

Whatever the reason for the drops, that issue appears to be gone. My thoughts during the preseason was timing, which was that Brandon Allen’s timing was never going to be what Joe Burrow’s is. Since we never got to see Burrow and Chase together in a substantial amount in preseason, it worried some that Chase could end up becoming a bust.

Chase had five receptions on seven targets for 101 yards and one touchdown against the Vikings. Half of those 101 yards came off of a deep pass from Burrow that went for a 50-yard touchdown.

Chase just beat Bashaud Breeland on a deep route and Burrow hit him in stride. Chase couldn’t ask for a better first touchdown to start his NFL career. Chase looked comfortable and if he keeps this pace could end up being Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Evan McPherson

As a Bengals fan, I know the struggle we have had with kickers, especially after the rule changes and Extra Points went from being freebies to actually having to try. From then on it seemed like the Bengals were doomed to be in kicker purgatory forever.

The Bengals were just one of those franchises, like the Vikings, who have had kicking woes for as long as I can remember. But hopefully, it seems like those days are over.

Evan McPherson had a great college career at the University of Florida, so when the Bengals took him in the fifth round of the 2021 draft every Bengals fan was hoping he could bring stability to the placekicking position.

McPherson had a great preseason going 100% on all kicks including two from 50+. McPherson got to keep that perfection rolling into the regular season in Week 1 against the Vikings and got to prove himself on the brightest stage, kicking the game-winning field goal as overtime came to a close. The Florida product also went 3-for-3 on Extra Points and he knocked down both field goal attempts, with that second one being pretty important.

As it looked like the game was headed for a tie, the Vikings got into field goal range. After a fumble by Dalvin Cook and a Bengals recovery, Burrow marched the good guys into field goal range, even overcoming a 4th and Inches near mid-field.

McPherson needed to make a 33-yard field goal, which seems to be a chip shot for the rookie. McPherson’s kick won the game and gave the Bengals an important 1-0 record to start the season. The rookie kicker will be in those orange stripes for a long time to come.

Next. 6 Star Performances from Overtime Win. dark

Cincinnati might have only seen two of their rookies take the field in this game but both shined bright and made big statements as to what they could provide for this team.