Sports

Krykslants: Is Bengals rookie in MVP Chase? He ought to be 

21-year-old wideout Ja’Marr Chase turning heads across the league with milestone-altering, jaw-dropping performances

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Can a large receiver, a 21-year-old at that, be a legit NFL MVP candidate? 

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Can a rookie actually be the league’s most harmful go catcher, even in an period rife with them? 

Nicely, when you’re referring in each instances to Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase, the solutions simply is likely to be sure and sure. Convincing arguments may be made. 

The LSU product has been that good not even two months into his professional profession. He was referred to as the “full bundle” as vast receivers go earlier than the Bengals drafted him fifth general final April. 

Thus far, he certain is.  

Quick. Dependable palms. Nice instincts. Slippery strikes. And toughness in addition. 

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No participant in league historical past earlier than the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Chase now had caught 754 yards value of passes via his first seven professional video games.  

Of present NFL pass-catchers who’ve performed in not less than six video games, nobody is near Chase’s 21.5-yards-per-catch common. Solely Cooper Kupp (Rams, 9), DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals, seven) and Mike Evans (Buccaneers, seven) have extra landing receptions than Chase’s six. And solely Kupp has extra receiving yards (809) than Chase’s 754. 

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“Ja’Marr Chase seems to be like the perfect vast receiver within the NFL,” former two-time all-pro security Rodney Harrison mentioned on NBC on Sunday night time. 

Chase’s 201 receiving yards in Cincinnati’s authoritative win Sunday at Baltimore have been essentially the most by a Bengals participant in a recreation in six years. That he did it whereas matched up 1-on-1 a lot of the time in opposition to one of many NFL’s greatest cover-cornerbacks, within the Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey, solely renders Chase’s jaw-dropping big-gainers the extra spectacular. 

Humphrey, a two-time Professional Bowl choice in 4 earlier NFL seasons and a 2019 all-pro nook, didn’t hesitate to offer reward the place it was due — each to Chase on the sphere late within the recreation, and afterward. 

“He was identical to, ‘Good job, hold working,’ Chase mentioned Humphrey advised him. “I used to be like, ‘Similar factor to you,’ and we simply stored enjoying.” 

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Afterward, Humphrey was requested what makes it so tough to cowl Chase. 

“I assume I’ll have a look at the movie and type of determine it out,” Humphrey mentioned. “As (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) says, it’s not as unhealthy because it appears. However proper now, it appears fairly unhealthy.” 

Chase mentioned Humphrey did “an ideal job” of taking away quite a lot of Cincinnati’s deliberate deep routes for him. So Bengals head coach Zac Taylor dialed up shorter routes for Chase — “back-shoulders, cease routes, slants, fast pitches and stuff like that,” Chase mentioned — a few which he shook free from for greater performs, together with the back-breaking brief slant he took 82 yards for a rating that put Cincinnati up by two-plus scores for good. 

It wasn’t a fluke, to listen to Chase clarify it. 

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“I knew my launch, what I wished to do earlier than I ran the route. I’ve been watching Humphrey’s movie, day and night time, to get the perfect thought I can have of him. I do know he’s such an ideal nook.  

“I got here off the road with some hesitation, then gave it an enormous burst and reduce in on the slant route. I protected myself from any hit. As I used to be getting hit, my momentum took me right into a spin. I stored following the spin and went from there.” 

Throwing the ball to Chase is second-year Bengals standout quarterback Joe Burrow. The 2 have been teammates at LSU and developed stable QB/WR chemistry there, in the course of the Tigers’ undefeated run to the 2019 U.S. faculty nationwide championship. 

The duo not solely is constant it as execs, they give the impression of being as dialed-in as any QB/WR combo within the league in the mean time. 

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“I count on Joe to be like this,” Chase mentioned. “I count on him to come back out (each time) together with his A-game, as he expects of me.” 

At 21 years and 237 days outdated, Chase is the second-youngest NFLer to report a 200-yard receiving recreation, after Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans in November 2014 (21 years, 87 days outdated). 

“I believe the sky is the restrict for us,” Chase mentioned of the younger however fast-improving Bengals assault. “We nonetheless have quite a lot of room to develop.” 

No kidding. Chase received’t flip 25 till March 1, 2025. 

FIVE FAST FACTS 

Derek Carr has failed to attach on solely 12 of his 61 post-Gruden passes … Arizona (7-0) now leads the NFL in level differential too (+111) … No Cardinals group within the franchise’s 102-season existence has begun a season 8-0 … Six groups have misplaced not less than 4 straight video games: Detroit (7), Miami (6), Houston (6), Denver (4), Carolina (4) and San Francisco (4) … Two minutes and 56 seconds into their seventh recreation of the season, the Lions had the ball with the lead for the primary time. 

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DEAL WITH IT 

It’s sounding, per reviews, as if the Houston Texans may grant Deshaun Watson his want in any case and commerce him. 

Initially the QB was keen to waive his no-trade clause just for his most well-liked vacation spot of Miami, reviews mentioned. Per the Houston Chronicle, talks final week heated up between the 2 franchises, what with the NFL’s in-season commerce deadline now only a week away (subsequent Tuesday, Nov. 2). 

ESPN reported Monday that Watson apparently has expanded his Miami-or-nobody commerce edict to incorporate different groups, even perhaps the Carolina Panthers — who appear to have swung and missed for the second straight yr on a celebrated QB acquisition (Teddy Bridgewater final season, Sam Darnold this). 

Notoriously impatient Panthers proprietor David Tepper in all probability already has finger-busted his reset button. 

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However whether or not the NFL will allow Watson to play anyplace this season, even when a group coughs up a small flotilla of high draft picks that satisfies the Texans entrance workplace, is unknown. 

The league is being characteristically mum throughout its investigation of Watson, begun within the spring after greater than a dozen former feminine therapeutic massage therapists of his alleged sexual assault or harassment on the quarterback’s half. 

Twenty-two civil fits in opposition to Watson stay energetic. The FBI has been investigating the matter since not less than April.  

Eight of the 22 civil-suit plaintiffs filed legal complaints in opposition to Watson to Houston police, reviews have mentioned. 

With all these unconfirmed however mighty critical allegations hovering over Watson, ought to the NFL allow him to play, say, in Miami or Carolina subsequent month? 

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No means. And the league ought to cease fussin’ round and inform golf equipment and the general public as a lot. Park him on the commissioner’s checklist, the place he can not play however nonetheless will get paid — as Roger Goodell has completed prior to now whereas allegations of legal wrong-doing on the a part of gamers crawled via the courts. 

TAKING A KNEE 

We are able to’t discuss milestone-shattering, break-out rookie pass-catchers on this house with out additionally mentioning Atlanta Falcons tight finish Kyle Pitts. 

Drafted 10 minutes earlier than the Bengals chosen Chase, and born 43 days earlier than Tom Brady dressed for his first NFL recreation in 2000, Pitts has burst onto the NFL scene this month. 

In his fifth and sixth professional video games — on Oct. 10 in opposition to the New York Jets, on Sunday in opposition to the Miami Dolphins — Pitts has caught a mixed 16 passes (on 18 Matt Ryan targets) for 282 yards and a landing. 

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He had a seven-catch, 163-yard day at Miami — the fourth-most yards by a rookie tight finish in league annals. And Pitts is barely the second NFL rookie tight finish with consecutive 100-plus receiving-yard video games. 

His 471 yards via six video games betters the NFL rookie tight-end milestone set by Mike Ditka of the Chicago Bears in 1961 (444). 

Pitts’ 28-yard catch in opposition to single-man protection with underneath two minutes remaining arrange the Falcons’ game-winning area objective as time expired. Pitts was lined up vast proper and, with unusual burst and velocity for a good finish, beat all-pro Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard on a easy deep lob up the proper sideline, an immediate earlier than rookie deep security Jevon Holland — who was born and partially raised in Coquitlam, B.C. — may arrive. 

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Pitts appeared like a big-bodied vast receiver on the decisive route, not a good finish. 

“I give him quite a lot of credit score. There isn’t any blink in his recreation,” Ryan mentioned of Pitts. “When the sport is on the road, he simply goes on the market and executes the identical as he does on another snap.” 

Stated first-year Falcons head coach Arthur Smith of Pitts: “He’s uncommon. While you put the fourth decide on any person, that’s quite a lot of expectations.”
Particularly for a good finish. 

“I’ve seen some guys not be capable to deal with it, however happily Kyle has. He’s precisely who we thought he was.” 

Broncos commerce for Rams linebacker Younger 

Eight days earlier than the NFL’s in-season commerce deadline, the Denver Broncos acquired a linebacker from the Los Angeles Rams. 

Denver bought Kenny Younger plus a 2024 seventh-round draft decide, in alternate for a 2024 sixth-rounder. 

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The Broncos have already got positioned six linebackers on injured reserve. 

EXTRA POINTS: New York Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson will miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained knee ligament … San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan mentioned “I’d guess” that Jimmy Garoppolo will stay his beginning QB … Miami positioned RB Malcolm Brown (quad) and DB Jason McCourty (foot) on IR … QB Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) will return to Houston practices beginning Wednesday, however it’s too early to know if he can play this week, head coach David Culley mentioned … New England CB Jonathan Jones (shoulder surgical procedure) is finished for the yr, NFL Community mentioned. 

Montreal helmet developer awarded $550,000 by NFL 

A Montreal firm was amongst three the NFL gifted Monday with grant cash, to assist advance applied sciences that make participant helmets safer. 

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Kollide, based mostly in Montreal, acquired $550,000 US. 

In accordance with a NFL information launch, the corporate’s group mixed its “distinctive experience in industrial design, additive manufacturing and experimental and digital testing” to develop and optimize “a prototype with an vitality absorption system.” 

Its submitted prototype’s inside helmet liner “is product of advanced and natural 3D-printed mesh, calibrated to soak up and redirect impression vitality,” which limits each straight and rotational “accelerations transmitted to the top.” 

A panel chosen by the NFL selected specifically modified helmets submitted Kollide of Montreal, Impressio of Denver and Xenith of Detroit over 10 different entrants, all of them “consultants in biomechanical engineering, supplies science, additive manufacturing or present helmet producers.” 

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“The NFL Helmet Problem is about revolutionary, not simply evolutionary enchancment,” Jeff Miller, the league’s govt VP of well being and security, mentioned in a press release. 

Bears head coach Nagy checks optimistic for COVID-19 

Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears is the NFL’s newest head coach to contract COVID-19. 

He examined optimistic Monday morning and went straight into quarantine. Nagy is totally vaccinated. 

“It’s a reminder to all of us to be extraordinarily cautious, and to know the place we’re at,” Nagy mentioned, per the group’s web site. “We’ve seen it with different groups within the league and society generally, so we’re working via that.” 

4 Bears gamers are on the COVID-19/reserve checklist: Tight finish Jimmy Graham, offensive deal with Elijah Wilkinson, outdoors linebacker Robert Quinn and linebacker Caleb Johnson. 

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New Orleans head coach Sean Payton caught COVID-19 final yr, and Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel this previous August. Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury examined optimistic earlier this month and missed final week’s win at Cleveland, earlier than returning for Sunday’s win in opposition to Houston. 

Elsewhere, Inexperienced Bay defensive coordinator Joe Barry examined optimistic for the coronavirus, NFL Community mentioned, and possibly will miss Thursday’s recreation in opposition to Arizona. 

And star Packers wideout Davante Adams was positioned on the COVID-19/reserve checklist, all however ruling him out for Thursday’s recreation.

JoKryk@postmedia.com  

@JohnKryk 

QUARTERBACK RANKINGS 

All 32 beginning QBs, after Sunday video games, with final week’s rankings in brackets: 

1. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay (1).  Makes it look really easy. 

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2. Aaron Rodgers, Inexperienced Bay (2).  He’s rolling, Pack is rolling. 

3. Josh Allen, Buffalo (3).  Had a bye. 

4. Kyler Murray, Arizona (4).  Acquired hit a bunch however nonetheless. wow. 

5. Dak Prescott, Dallas (5).  Had a bye. 

6. Matthew Stafford, L.A. Rams (7).  Solely getting higher. 

7. Justin Herbert, L.A. Chargers (8).  Had a bye. 

8. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas Metropolis (6).  And that is beneficiant. 

9. Derek Carr, Las Vegas (9).  Legit MVP  finalist at this charge. 

10. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati (13).  Yup. Prime 10. And rising. 

11. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota (11).  Had a bye. 

12. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (10).  Bengals D owned him. 

13. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee (15).  Straightforward pickin’ vs. Chiefs. 

14. Carson Wentz, Indianapolis (18).  What a turnaround. 

15. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (14).  Had a bye. 

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16. Matt Ryan, Atlanta (16).  Hey — three wins, .500. 

17. Mac Jones, New England (17).  A lot to love right here. 

18. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville (20).  Had a bye. 

19. Jared Goff, Detroit (21).  Is wringing out all he can. 

20. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Fran (NR).  The same old, proper? 

21. Jameis Winston, New Orleans (23).  Performed Monday night time. 

22. Geno Smith, Seattle (24).  Performed Monday night time. 

23. Teddy Bridgewater, Denver (19).  Harm and struggling. 

24. Case Keenum, Cleveland (NR).  Stable veteran reduction job. 

25. Daniel Jones, N.Y. Giants (25).  Possibly he needs to be WR? 

26. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami (27).  Killer INT, in any other case fantastic. 

27. Taylor Heinicke, Washington (28).  Powerful time ending. 

28. Justin Fields, Chicago (26).  Thud. That was ugly. 

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29. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia (29).  Yeah, he’s not the man. 

30. Davis Mills, Houston (30).   Like pushing a prepare automotive uphill.  

31. Sam Darnold, Carolina (22).  And that’ll about do it. 

32. Zach Wilson, N.Y. Jets (32).  Knee-ligament situation now. 

THIS WEEK 

Fast ideas on Week 8 video games (all on Sunday until famous): 

  • Packers at Cardinals, Thursday, 8:20 ET: One of the crucial scrumptious mid-season TNF matchups in years. 
  • Panthers at Falcons, 1 ET: Two NFC North groups rushing by each other, in several instructions. 
  • Dolphins at Payments, 1 ET: Brian Flores’ Fish are 0-6 since Week 1 and 0-5 vs. Buffalo, shedding on common by 19 factors. 
  • 49ers at Bears, 1 ET: Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Justin Fields? In all probability. If Chicago is critical, perhaps Dalton ought to begin. 
  • Steelers at Browns, 1 ET: Final time these groups met, within the playoffs in January, Cleveland crushed Pittsburgh. 
  • Eagles at Lions, 1 ET: Legitimately winnable recreation for Detroit. So you already know what that in all probability means.  
  • Rams at Texans, 1 ET: It will get ugly, quick. Gotta rating factors in bunches to beat this L.A. group. Houston can’t. 
  • Titans at Colts, 1 ET: Enormous AFC South tilt. Titans can all however wrap up division title — in any other case it’ll be tight.  
  • Bengals at Jets, 1 ET: If Mac Jones and the Patriots can beat this group 54-13 … good grief, conceal the children.  
  • Patriots at Chargers, 4:05 ET: Matchup of the 2 most completed QBs of final two drafts not named Joe Burrow. 
  • Jaguars at Seahawks, 4:05 ET: Jacksonville is available in red-hot (for the Jags), on a one-game profitable streak. 
  • WashingtonFT at Broncos, 4:25 ET: Most scientific and correct option to forecast a winner right here: Flip a coin. 
  • Buccaneers at Saints, 4:25 ET: Brady vs. Brees! Whoa. Wait. What? Can New Orleans D derail the Brady Categorical? 
  • Cowboys at Vikings, 8:20 ET: Could possibly be an actual enjoyable Sunday-night shootout. Dak vs. Kirk. Indoors. 
  • Giants at Chiefs, Monday, 8:15 ET: Certainly that is the sport when Patrick Mahomes and Ok.C. offence get it collectively, sure? 

BYES: Ravens, Raiders.  

 

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