Bengals hope Burrow-Chase connection produces Super Bowl win
CINCINNATI (AP) — Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase keep making history together.
Since the two became teammates in 2018 at LSU, they have played in seven postseason games and won every one, breaking NCAA and NFL records along the way.
If the duo can extend the streak by one more game, they will be Super Bowl champions.
Their postseason stretch together includes 4-0 in two seasons at LSU, including the 2019 national championship game win over Clemson.
Then, as Cincinnati Bengals teammates in receiver Chase’s rookie season, they won three nail-biting playoff games in three weeks on the way to the team’s first Super Bowl in 33 years.
The way Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan saw it, the duo picked up where they left off at LSU and just keep getting better together.
“You can see it and feel it,” Callahan said. “They know how to communicate with each other.”
Burrow came in as the top overall draft pick in 2020 after winning the national championship and Heisman Trophy. A knee injury cut short his NFL rookie season as the Bengals finished 4-11-1, last in the AFC North.
Chase was the fifth overall pick in the 2021 draft after sitting out the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns. In 2018 and ’19, he and Burrow had combined for 107 receptions for 2,093 yards and 23 touchdowns.
This season, the Bengals (13-7) won the AFC North as Chase racked up more receiving yards than any rookie in the Super Bowl era (1,455) and set the single-season record for the franchise. Burrow completed 70% of his passes for 4,611 yards and 34 TDs, 13 of them to Chase.
“I think we just have a lot of reps accumulated together,” Burrow said. “It’s all about how many times you throw a certain route with a guy and however many times you can talk through certain looks that you might see on that route from the defender, whether he’s high hip or low hip or inside or outside. We just have probably more reps accumulated than a lot of people do.”
Chase put it this way: “Sometimes Joe might not even look at me, and I know what he’s thinking.”
Chase’s biggest moment of the season might have been a clutch catch as the clock wound down in the divisional-round playoff game against Tennessee on Jan. 22.
With the score tied, Cincinnati linebacker Logan Wilson intercepted Ryan Tannehill at the Bengals 47 with 20 seconds remaining.
Cincinnati had to get into field-goal range to win it in regulation. On the next play, Burrow hit Chase down the right sideline for 19 yards to the Tennessee 34. Three plays later, rookie Evan McPherson split the uprights with a 52-yarder as time ran out for a 19-16 win.
Last week, the Bengals dethroned the Kansas City Chiefs as AFC champions with a 27-24 overtime victory, again decided by McPherson’s field goal.
“Everything’s an opportunity,” Chase said. “We keep having opportunities in front of us, and we keep taking advantage of it.”
Coach Zac Taylor said he doesn’t really know how Burrow and Chase do what they do, he just hopes they can come up with more big plays as the Bengals face the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl Feb. 13.
“I haven’t really seen that process of them trying to work out that chemistry,” Taylor acknowledged. “It was there the first time I saw those guys and and there’s probably a lot of things behind the scenes that I don’t want to see when they speak to each other in the locker room, or things that they say when the coaches aren’t around, which is great. That’s what you want. You want the players to take over this offense.”
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