4 most surprising Cincinnati Bengals of the 2021 season

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson - Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson - Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 5
Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Bengals’ Biggest Surprises – Ja’Marr Chase

Anyone who is drafted fifth overall in a draft should be expected to have a good season but, no one expected Ja’Marr Chase to be what he was this season.

During the preseason, Chase was dropping passes and it became worrisome that he might end up being a bust.

The worry during the preseason was inflated. Joe Burrow wasn’t throwing to Chase, it was Brandon Allen, and nothing against Allen, but he wouldn’t have the same timing that Burrow would. When the regular season came, Chase waltzed through the season totaling 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns.

It’s clear now the Bengals made the correct choice in Ja’Marr Chase or Penei Sewell. Sewell might have ranked 66th among PFF’s top 101 rated players in 2021 but Chase ended the season ranked 26th.

"The Bengals receiver surprised the league with just how dominant he can be in all areas, winning at the catch point, in his routes and also after the catch. Few players have his combination of skills. If he can call on them at all times consistently, there won’t be a better wideout in the game."

Chase made good on that promise to break records. He’s broken five records in this season alone. In week 17 he lit everything on fire by setting the single-game record for receiving yards in a game (266). If it wasn’t clear before that game against the Chiefs it was after, Chase will be a star.

At this pace, Ja’Marr could break every receiving record, especially with the expanded season.

It’s inarguable that the Bengals’ dream season wouldn’t have been possible without Chase. His big-play ability was instrumental in their playoff run. Not only is playability was a big part, but he draws defenders to him and away from other players.

If Chase isn’t going off, then Tee Higgins will. The Bengals offense is now a team when others have to just pick their poison.