Ja’Marr Chase endured a tough preseason with the Bengals. Chase, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, caught just one pass while dropping a whopping four passes over the span of three games.
Chase received scrutiny for his performance. He explained that he was adjusting to seeing the NFL ball, which is a bit different than the ball at the college level, but he wasn’t worried about it ahead of the regular season.
“I’ve been hearing that,” Chase said of the chatter about his problem with drops after the game. “That’s just trash talk. Just block out the noise.”
He was right not to be worried. Chase put together an excellent first game for Cincinnati. He led the team in receptions (five), receiving yards (101 yards) and was one of two Bengals receivers to catch a touchdown from Joe Burrow.
Chase’s touchdown was a nice one. He beat the Vikings defender by a step and made a catch on a perfectly thrown ball from Burrow to earn the go-ahead score.
Chase’s strong effort drew the attention of many, including his teammates. Joe Burrow chirped the reporters on hand for his postgame media availability.
“I thought he was dropping everything,” Burrow joked of Chase.
Meanwhile, Tee Higgins took to Twitter to send a message to Chase’s detractors.
Chase’s alma mater, LSU, even joined in the fun.
Ja’Marr Chase can catch the ball
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) September 12, 2021
There will probably continue to be jokes about Chase’s drops given how much of a focus they were during the preseason. But after his debut, there’s little reason for concern about his hands.