In his last five games, Chase has scored just two touchdowns and is averaging 40.8 yards per game. Not bad for a rookie, but not great when compared to his first five games, during which he scored five touchdowns and averaged 91.2 yards per game.
Opponents have begun sticking their safeties on Chase to keep the rookie wideout well-covered at all times, thus causing Joe Burrow to throw to other targets like Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
Should Bengals fans expect Chase’s production levels to continue dropping for the rest of the season?
Chase’s teammates are less worried about his performance and more focused on his mentality.
Tight end C.J. Uzomah had this to say about Chase’s current disappointing rut:
Cincinnati Bengals have utmost confidence in Ja’Marr Chase to finish season strong
Perhaps expectations had been too quickly lavished on Chase, as he is only a rookie.
His preseason drops may be coming back to haunt him with Chase dropping a few in the end zone in recent weeks, as well as his most recent drop-turned-fumble in Week 13 against the Chargers.
In 12 games, Chase has caught 55 passes for 958 yards, averaging a whopping 17.4 yards per catch, but it’s his current performance that has many questioning his potential.
After another underwhelming showing in Week 13, Chase seems to have hit his ceiling. Chase can’t deal with the extra coverage, and luckily, the Bengals don’t need him to — Cincinnati has other dangerous threats in Higgins, Boyd, and even Uzomah, all of whom have stepped up to keep the Bengals’ offensive attack smoothly purring.
Ultimately, Uzomah’s comment that the “whole weight of the game does not fall on [Chase’s] shoulders” rings true. This 2021 Bengals team is well-rounded enough to not have to depend on the rookie all the time, and that’s a good sign.
The Bengals know what they have in Chase, and they just want to make sure he develops into a consistent wideout weapon, not just a boom-or-bust wunderkind.
Chase looks ahead to Week 14’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers to prove his resilience and big-play abilities on the professional level. His teammates will always be proud of him. His fantasy managers? Maybe not so much.