Bengals rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had 11 catches for 266 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday’s AFC North-clinching victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Chase set a new rookie record for the most receiving yards in a season, breaking fellow LSU alumnus and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson’s record from last season.
Ja'Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson each set the record for most receiving yards by a rookie WR in back-to-back years 🔥
LSU teammates torched the league from day one. pic.twitter.com/gZEK3Tm8wj
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 3, 2022
NFL analyst Ryan Clark said Monday that Chase was the best player on the field during Sunday’s game.
“Ja’Marr Chase was the best player on the football field … period, point blank. In a game full of offensive superstars. … You have to remember, Travis Kelce is on the other side. Tyreek Hill is on the other side. The best quarterback that we’ve seen in ages, Patrick Mahomes in on the other side. On his own team there’s Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon. Yesterday, Ja’Marr Chase took over that football game”
With an additional game to go, Chase will add on to his rookie record of 1,429 receiving yards.
Is Chase the next great wide receiver in the NFL?
Through 16 games Chase has 79 catches for 1,429 yards and 13 touchdowns. We mentioned the rookie receiving yards record, and he’s four touchdowns away from Moss’ rookie record. Though he likely won’t get that record.
No matter how you look at it, his raw counting stats are impressive. If he continues on this trajectory, he’s headed for the Hall of Fame and could challenge the great all-time receiving records.
Jerry Rice is widely considered the greatest wide receiver of all time, and it’s hard to dispute. He owns the career receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns records in the NFL. Rice was an 11-time All-Pro, 13-time Pro Bowl player, three-time Offensive Player of the Year, three-time Super Bowl champ and Super Bowl MVP.
In the 10 seasons following his rookie campaign Rice averaged 89 catches, 1,419 yards, and 14 touchdowns per season. That is an insane level of production.
That’s 10 seasons of what Chase did this season.
Even if Chase could replicate this same production for 10 consecutive seasons he would still be well behind Rice’s all-time records. But he would firmly land on the short list for greatest receivers of all-time.
Rice, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, and Marvin Harrison are the greatest receivers in the modern era. That’s rarefied air, but not out of the realm of possibility for Chase.
As a rookie Chase is top five among all receivers this season in yards, touchdowns and average yards per game and catch. He is a top five receiver in terms of raw counting stats.
The advanced stats tell a slightly different story.
Among all wide receivers with at least 50 catches, Chase is ranked 15th in defense adjusted yards above replacement. A stat that gives the value of the performance on plays where a receiver caught the ball, compared to replacement level, adjusted for situation and opponent and then translated into yardage.
He is 26th in defense adjusted value over replacement.
This is not the be all and end all, but it helps provide context. Chase is having an excellent rookie season and at +300 odds could still win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
But let’s slow down on the next Jerry Rice.
He is on the right trajectory as mentioned earlier. He will need longevity and health to challenge these all-time records.
He needs to keep playing with top weapons surrounding him as well.
And eventually to be considered the greatest, he’s going to have to win Super Bowls. No guarantees in this league.
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