How Ja’Marr Chase fits in the offense

As Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor analyzed the run game in the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, he turned his attention to the only negative rushing play of the entire game.

Even though running back Joe Mixon had 127 yards, Taylor looked back at the one play he might have called differently. In the first quarter, Taylor called a jet sweep to rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and Chase was stopped for a two-yard loss.

But Taylor said he had a good reason for calling it.

“I got a little antsy to get the ball to our playmakers,” Taylor said.

While Chase had dropped his last four passes of the preseason, Taylor was still confident enough in the fifth overall pick that the game plan focused on getting Chase the ball.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) pulls in a catch on the way to his career-first touchdown in the second quarter of the NFL Week One game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. The Bengals led 14-7 at halftime.

Chase rewarded Taylor’s confidence in him with a nearly perfect NFL debut. Chase had five catches for 101 yards, highlighted by a 50-yard touchdown catch before halftime. While the touchdown catch received most of the attention, Chase added a lot more than a deep ball to the Bengals offense.

In his first game, Chase put on display his agility at the line of scrimmage, his ability to fight for extra yards and his chemistry with quarterback Joe Burrow.

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