You have to figure Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase has not only seen every great throw from quarterback Joe Burrow, but he's probably caught most of them.
They do have a history, you know.
After Chase grabbed 130 of Burrow's 481 yards in Sunday's 35-17 win over the Falcons at Paycor Stadium, he proclaimed the opening play of the second quarter Burrow's best pass ever. Burrow always says if he sees Chase in man coverage he automatically goes to him and this was no different.
With practice squadder Cornell Armstrong lined up on Chase in his first NFL game since 2020 (A.J. Terrell left with a hamstring injury), Chase tried to get by him on a go route down the right sideline and even though Armstrong was there with him, Burrow threw it on top of his helmet as he ran past the front pylon for a 32-yard touchdown that gave the Bengals a 21-0 lead.
According to Next Gen Stats, it was Burrow's most improbable completion of the season and the toughest catch of Chase's career.
"That was definitely the best pass he's ever thrown. That was a dime, bro, a dime," Chase said after he became the quickest Bengal to get to 2,000 yards in his 24th game.
Chase said he knew Burrow would throw it even though there looked to be about fingernail between him and Armstrong.
"Right," Chase said. "It was man."
Or, as Burrow said Sunday, ""If we get man, I think everyone knows where the ball is going."
Coming into the game, Next Gen Stats had Burrow for eight touchdowns and no interceptions against man-to-man coverage. After Chase scored a 41-yard touchdown pass in the last minute of the first half, make that ten touchdowns.
With cornerback Darren Hall covering him on the left sideline, Chase stopped at about 15 yards, caught it, spun away from Hall, darted to the middle of the field and outran everybody.
You know you're hot. Chase didn't think he was moving that fast: "I was surprised no one tackled me ... I wasn't even running, honestly. I wasn't running for real."
_Center Ted Karras is probably never going to be invited back to Quarterback Jeopardy.
That's the game the Bengals quarterbacks room hosts the night before every game. There are some pop culture questions wedged in around what serves as a test for the game plan. Everyone is welcome, but Karras got an invite.
Each guy in the game picks which play they think is going to score first and Karras won on the 60-yard seam ball to slot receiver Tyler Boyd two minutes into the game.
"I liked the play in practice. I liked the name of it," Karras said. "And it came to fruition."
_Boyd had a career-high 155 yards, but he was pulling for wide receiver Tee Higgins to get to 100 so they could have three 100-yard receivers in the same game. In fact, they were trying to get it for him.
"Just like they were trying to get it for me against Baltimore last year," Boyd said of the day he had 85 yards when Higgins had a career-high 194 and Chase had 125.
The last time the Bengals had three 100-yard receivers was Oct. 7, 1990 in Boomer Esiason's pre-Burrow record of 490 yards. But that was a running back (James Brooks), a tight end (Rodney Holman) and a wide receiver (Tim McGee).
"They're just as excited to see Tee score as they are Ja'Marr or Tyler as much as Tee," Burrow said. "They celebrate each other's success. That's what makes us so unique; we have three number one receivers without any ego."
Higgins got within a yard, but they took away a six-yard catch saying he juggled it.
"I wanted them bad, man. I'm not going to lie," Higgin said. "We ran some play, and I was butt-naked (open), and I'm looking at Joe like, 'Throw me the ball!' But it's all right. My guys went off today, and I'm so proud of them, especially (Boyd) with a career high. We're looking to build off that."
_Burrow became the first NFL player with five 400-yard passing days in his first three seasons.
"Nope," said Burrow, when asked if he had any thoughts on history. "I have great players around me, and great coaches."
He also came oh, so close to joining Ben Roethlisberger (three) and Drew Brees (two) with multiple 500-yard games. He set the Bengals record with 525 in that Baltimore game and now has three of the five biggest passing days in Bengals history with a list of Burrow (525), Esiason (490), Burrow (481), Ken Anderson (447) and Burrow (446).
"I thought we might throw it there in the end, but we decided against it," Burrow said of the bid for 525.
_Hard to remember when head coach Zac Taylor gave an entire unit a game ball, but the defense deserved it after becoming only the third defense in the last 52 years to go seven straight games without allowing a second-half touchdown. They held the Falcons to 214 yards, the fewest the Bengals have allowed since the second game of last season. They buckled only twice in the first half, on a 16-play touchdown drive and a 75-yard touchdown pass that was the longest they had allowed since 2004.
But they wiped it clean.
"That's football. That happens. They get paid, too," said left end Sam Hubbard, who had one of three sacks. "They have a great scheme they play. They don't have much other than that play. One good drive and one big play, so we just settled down and played our defense."
_It was a big day for two of those young guys on defense. Edge Joseph Ossai, who missed all of his rookie season last year, got his first NFL sack. Rookie cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt, a second-rounder who was on injured reserve for the first month of the season following core surgery, had his most extended action yet with 28 snaps while he rotated with starter Eli Apple's 16..
"Took the tackle inside and then spun outside," said Ossai, a 2021 third-rounder. "I've come a long way to get to this point. I've got to thank the trainers for sticking with me and my teammates on the defensive line for keep encouraging me."
Taylor-Britt had an active three tackles.
"We wanted to work Cam in there," Zac Taylor said. "He's a player who, when he's practiced for us, he's done a really good job, made a strong impression, and it's time to start working him in on special teams and some on defense as well.".
"He's physical. I love him out there," Hubbard said. "He's got great energy. He's a fun player to be around. I'm really happy he got his feet wet. The minute he came in the door you could see his speed and athleticism. I like his attitude. He's a dog and that transfers to the field."
_Ossai had his sack in place of Hendrickson, who also had a sack before leaving with a neck injury late. Taylor said he didn't have an update on Hendrickson, but he walked off and it could be something like a cervical sprain.
_After dancing "The Griddy," and "Stan The Man," to celebrate his two touchdowns back home in New Orleans last week, Chase offered "The Griddy,' after his first touchdown Sunday, and then after his second climbed the North end zone wall and sat with the fans before Boyd joined him.
"I've got to come up with some more stuff," said Chase, who said he ran out of celebrations. "TB did it last year, but I got there a little, so i just wanted to do it again."
_Chase chose tight end Hayden Hurst to do the Who-Dey chant (Chase did it last week) to send them home. Burrow, all three receivers, the defense and Hurst all got game balls. Hurst, deemed expendable after last season when the Falcons drafted Kyle Pitts No. 4, outplayed him with 48 yards to Pitts' nine.