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Bengals still getting little respect

ESPN tabs Ja’Marr Chase as only the fifth-best rookie in the NFL.

Syndication: The Enquirer
Ja’Marr Chase goes up for a reception against the Raiders
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

At the risk of sounding like my least favorite politician, this media bias is really out of control.

In what universe is Ja’Marr Chase only the fifth-best rookie in the NFL this year? Are you kidding me?

Jeff Legwold, an ESPN Senior Writer, dropped the latest bomb when he decided that linebacker/defensive end Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys, New England quarterback Mac Jones, Los Angeles Chargers offensive tackle Rashawn Slater, and center Creed Humphrey of the Kansas City Chiefs were better than Chase.

Of course, Legwold tried to deflect some of the blame for the picks by claiming that he “polled personnel executives around the league to get their thoughts” on the list.

But let’s step back and view this thing logically. Of the five rookies on this list, which ones are still playing?

That’s right. Only Chase and Humphrey. And who had the biggest impact for his team?

While it is true that Jones helped engineer a Patriots turnaround that sent them to the playoffs, he quickly folded under the pressure as he threw a pair of interceptions in New England’s 47-17 loss to the Bills.

Parsons had a great season, no doubt about it, as he finished with 84 tackles, 13 sacks and three forced fumbles. But how did he fare in the Cowboys’ playoff tilt against the 49ers? Three solo tackles, one tackle for loss and no sacks.

Sure, Pro Football Focus graded Rashawn Slater as one of the better left tackles in the NFL with a final mark of 83.7, but how did you do in the most important game of the season when the Chargers’ were playing for their playoff lives? He graded out at 67.7 as Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert was sacked three times and hit 10 more times.

And while Humphrey had an admirable season for the Chiefs as a rookie, just how big of a difference did he make? Humphrey ended up as one of the better center’s in the NFL with a final grade of 91.4 while surrendering six penalties and one sack.

But last year’s starter, Austin Reiter, committed no penalties and did not surrender a sack in 2020. Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes finished that year with a passer rating of 108.2 after tossing 38 touchdown passes and only six interceptions while being sacked 22 times. Kansas City finished the season with a record of 14-2 before losing in the Super Bowl to the Buccaneers.

This year, Mahomes threw for 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, good for a passer rating of 98.5, with 28 sacks. The Chiefs finished the regular season with a record of 12-5.

Now, let’s look at Chase. How did the LSU rookie fare in the Bengals’ two biggest games of the season, the division clinching win over the Chiefs and the playoff win over the Raiders?

Against Kansas City, Chase went off for an NFL rookie record of 266 receiving yards on 11 catches and scored three touchdowns, including from 72 and 69 yards.

In the playoff victory over Las Vegas, Chase caught nine passes for 116 yards and contributed 23 yards rushing on three carries. He boasted three receptions of over 15 yards, and has now gone over 100 yards receiving in three of Cincinnati’s last four games.

Chase finished with 81 receptions for 1,455 yards (the most by a rookie in the history of the Super Bowl era) for an average of 18 yards per catch, and 13 touchdowns.

Chase was the league leader in deep touchdown receptions with seven, and became the first rookie to lead the NFL in that category for an entire season, prompting former Minnesota Vikings great Cris Carter to call Chase “the greatest rookie wide receiver in the history of the sport.”

So, logically speaking, which of these five rookies had the biggest impact on their team’s success and most deserves the coveted titled of “Rookie of the Year?”


Who is the NFL’s Rookie of the Year?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Micah Parsons
    (39 votes)
  • 0%
    Mac Jones
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Rashawn Slater
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Creed Humphrey
    (5 votes)
  • 96%
    Ja’Marr Chase
    (1623 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
1676 votes total Vote Now