It seems like a distant memory at this point that there were some who were actually concerned about Cincinnati Bengals rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, drafted fifth overall, after he dropped a few passes during the preseason. Despite having sat a year out of football, he is very much living up to the hype.
In fact, you may have seen this, but he is putting up numbers that are comparable to what Randy Moss, the Hall of Fame wide receiver and often regarded as the most talented to ever play the game, did through the first five games of his career.
Moss caught 22 passes for 463 yards and six touchdowns during his first five games for the Minnesota Vikings in 1998; he would go on to catch 69 passes for 1,313 yards and a league-leading 17 touchdowns, a number he would hit twice more over the course of his career.
Chase currently has 23 receptions so far, putting up 453 yards with five touchdowns. One more catch, 10 fewer yards, and one fewer touchdown. He already has four explosive-play touchdowns, including three of 30-plus yards and two of 50-plus yards, connecting on a 70-yard touchdown this past week. Moss had five explosive-play touchdowns in his first five games.
Of course, he’s not the first player to ever put up numbers during a certain stretch that compare well to some Hall of Fame. All we can learn from that is that he is off to a very good start, but the real story is what he does from this point forward.
The Bengals coveted Chase in particular because he was teammates with quarterback Joe Burrow, whom they drafted first overall in 2020, while they are at LSU together, and the duo put up historic numbers during the 2019 season. But Burrow declared for the draft, and Chase did not play college football last year.
With 12 games left to play, suffice it to say that he is at least well-positioned to reach 1,000 receiving yards during his rookie season. The Bengals’ single-season franchise record for receiving yards is 1,440 yards, achieved by Chad Johnson, a number that is in reach. He will have to keep up quite a pace to match Carl Pickens’ 17 receiving touchdowns during the 1995 season, however, which is more than any Steeler has ever had in a single season.