Comparing Ja’Marr Chase’s young career to two other Bengals WR legends
By Josh Miller
The Cincinnati Bengals have been fortunate to have some of the best wide receivers in the game, ranging from Chad Ochocinco to A.J. Green to now the emerging star, Ja’Marr Chase.
During his podcast, former Bengals wide receiver, Cris Collinsworth claimed that Ja’Marr Chase is the best wide receiver to put on a Bengals uniform. Notice his use of language here — not “will be” but currently “is”.
Chase has had a historic rookie year and was rewarded with the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, but is he the best to ever dawn the stripes? Before we look at the star-studded list of Bengals receivers, you have to consider exactly what Chase has accomplished this year.
In just his first regular season, Chase went for over 1,455 yards (4th in the league) and 13 touchdowns (3rd in the league). He blew every other rookie receiver out of the water, leading all rookies in receiving stats and rightfully claiming the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
In order to truly judge Chase, let’s stack him up against some of the other great Bengals receivers.
When comparing Chase to Chad Ochocinco, you have to look at the different impacts that were created over a single season, and the impact on the organization as a whole.
Chase shattered Ochocinco’s single-game yards record when he went for 266 yards against the Chiefs in Week 17. Chase also managed to eclipse the franchise single-season yards record as well. He did all of this as a rookie.
While Chase has the stats of a rookie God, he also has been able to do the most important part of football, win. When you look back at the great wide receivers of Bengals’ past, one common fault that you can find is their inability to win important games.
Ochocinco held many franchise records, however, he never was able to muster up a performance in a playoff game. He has also been a part of three teams that ended with a losing record. While his dominance reigned over the league, you feel as if his time in Cincinnati felt incomplete. Never able to reach the top of the mountain, or really basecamp honestly.
While his impact will be felt throughout all of Bengals’ history, I don’t believe that he has had the impact that Chase has already made. Chase’s accolades include ROY, most yards (single game and season), and capped off with a trip to the Super Bowl.
Chase outshines Ocho on this one.
Now, let’s move the focus over to A.J. Green vs. Ja’Marr Chase.
Green was far and away, a top-tier talent in his era. When healthy, Green was a force that couldn’t be stopped. Sadly, in the NFL, the best ability is availability, and Green was the opposite. Green couldn’t stay healthy when needed the most and missed an entire season due to an ankle injury.
While Green had a Pro Bowl season in 2015, he failed to create separation and make the big-time plays within the game that mattered the most. Yep, we’re talking about that Pittsburgh game.
In the biggest games in Chase’s rookie career, he steps up — 266 yards and two scores to win the AFC North, and continues to dominate through the playoffs. That separates Chase’s rookie year from A.J. Green’s entire tenure. Chase has meant more to the franchise. He’s meant so much, that he was able to capture the franchise’s first-ever Rookie of the Year award.
Many want to blame Andy Dalton for the lack of Green’s success. However, I would like to refute this argument by standing up for Dalton. During Dalton’s tenure, he was able to pull the Bengals out of the depths of mediocrity and willed some of his teams to the playoffs five years in a row.
During the 2015 season, Dalton was having an MVP caliber year until he was sidelined at the end of the year due to a hand injury. Dalton is no Joe Burrow, but he’s definitely not anywhere below average.
While the list of receivers that have played with the Cincinnati Bengals include elite talent, Ja’Marr Chase is the best receiver to ever dawn the orange and black stripes. Uno truly is one of a kind, and this is just the beginning.
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