What happens when one LSU tiger crosses another LSU tiger? A ferocious battle for king of the jungle ensues.
The claws will come out when Cincinnati Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase faces former Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu this upcoming season, and don’t expect either player to show any mercy. Both Chase and Mathieu are well-known products of LSU, but Chase holds the upper hand having bested Mathieu twice in 2021.
The Bengals memorably beat the Chiefs in Week 17 and again in the AFC Championship game, and in those two matchups combined Chase hauled in 320 receiving yards along with four touchdowns.
Mathieu has since signed with the New Orleans Saints this offseason, which means Chase and the veteran ballhawk will cross paths yet again when the Bengals play the Saints this October.
Heading into Year 2, Chase has already won the respect of many throughout the league, including Mathieu himself.
Mathieu recently compared Chase to Odell Beckham Jr., who also enjoyed a jaw-dropping start to his NFL career in which he recorded three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons with the New York Giants.
OBJ has since rejected that comparison, saying that Chase instead belongs in a league of his own.
Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase gets another chance to embarrass Tyrann Mathieu in 2022
Still, it’s clear Mathieu considers Chase to be a truly elite wideout, and the LSU rivalry burns brighter than ever.
In a conversation with NFL Films, Mathieu reflected on the trauma Chase inflicted on the Chiefs last season:
I remember he caught a ball on us, it was like a 10-yard out. It was really just supposed to be a drive starter. He took it 80-yards to the crib. He outran everybody. He had like 200 at halftime. It was embarrassing.
Mathieu isn’t the only defender the 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year pantsed last year. Chase also had impressive performances against the Baltimore Ravens, who got swept by the Bengals, as well as against some of the best defenses in the NFL.
Chase ended his historic rookie year with 1,455 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging a whopping 85.6 yards per game.
Come 2022, Chase will no longer have the benefit of the doubt as he and the Bengals have a much steeper hill to climb to repeat their Super Bowl run. He’ll face plenty of elite team defenses along the way, but the Saints’ secondary just might be the toughest to beat.
Along with Tyrann Mathieu, New Orleans boasts a stacked pass defense that consists of star cornerback Marshon Lattimore, C.J. Gardner Johnson, Marcus Maye, and a few young talents.
Chase can still build upon his successful rookie season and thrive under the arm of fellow LSU product Joe Burrow, but will Mathieu and other defenders figure Chase out in 2022?
There can only be one king of the jungle, after all, and Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow are ready to defend their throne.