Ja’Marr Chase wasted little time during his rookie season a year ago demonstrating that he is one of the top wide receivers in the NFL, and, partnered with his college quarterback Joe Burrow, intends to be just that for many years to come.
After breaking many Cincinnati Bengals and NFL records as a rookie a year ago, he recently appeared on the I Am Athlete podcast with, among others, Chad Ochocinco. The former Bengals great asked Chase what he had his sights set on as an encore for year two in 2022.
“I write goals a lot, especially with football”, he said. “My biggest goal this year’s gonna be, and not just this year but going forward, probably just triple crown. Because I can’t top what I did, so I feel like triple crown is what it’s got to be”.
This probably doesn’t need to be explained, but for the sake of clarity, Chase is referring to a receiving ‘triple crown’, which would be finishing a season with the most receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns in the league.
While Cooper Kupp achieved that feat just last season with the Los Angeles Rams, it is an uncommon achievement. Just Jerry Rice, Sterling Sharpe, and Steve Smith have also hit that mark in the modern era of the game.
During his rookie season, Chase recorded 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those are excellent numbers, but he didn’t finish in first in any one category—and only finished in the top five in two. His 81 receptions ranked tied for 20th in the NFL, though he finished fourth in receiving yards and third in receiving touchdowns.
Those numbers do rank first in Bengals history among rookies. His 1,455 receiving yards were also the most in Bengals’ history for a single season, Ochocinco and A.J. Green being the only others in team history to top 1,400 yards.
His 13 receiving touchdowns stands second in team history, however, behind Carl Pickens, who recorded touchdowns for the team during the 1992 season. That was an outlier in Pickens’ career; he never had more than 12 in any other year, and only had double digits three times in nine seasons.
As far as receptions go, Chase has a lot of catching up to do. He only ranks 16th in that department, though it’s certainly not out of reach. There have only been two 100-catch seasons in team history, one with Pickens at exactly 100. T.J. Houshmandzadeh holds the team’s all-time single-season record at 112.
So what numbers would he realistically have to hit to be in the ballpark for the triple crown? Well, taking the average numbers of the top in each category over the last five years, he would have to reach 136 receptions for 1,684 yards and 15 touchdowns. The latter two will be easier to obtain, but slot receivers tend to lead in receptions. Kupp, Michael Thomas, and Jarvis Landry represent four of the last five receptions leaders, Stefon Diggs in 2020 being the exception.