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For Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, There’s No Ceiling in Cincinnati

From the Bayou to the Queen City, these two Bengals have quickly formed one of the most exciting quarterback-receiver duos in football.

In a battle between the AFC North’s two best quarterbacks, Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow sent a clear and convincing message not just to their division, but the entire NFL.

Making just the 17th start of his career, the top pick in the 2020 draft threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns in the Bengals’ 41-17 domination of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in Baltimore. At 5-2, Cincinnati is now one of four AFC teams with that record, joining the Titans, Raiders, and those very same Ravens.

The fact that the QB is doing all this a little more than 11 months after a gruesome ACL tear makes his on-field exploits all the more impressive. And to boot, the 24-year-old Burrow sustained a throat contusion two weeks ago against Green Bay and threw for nearly 400 yards in that game anyway.

Burrow threw for 400 yards in Week 7 of last year as well, which makes him just the fourth quarterback in NFL history with a pair of 400-yard, three TD games within his first 20 career appearances, joining Nick Foles, Billy Volek, and some guy named Patrick Mahomes.

In last season’s Week 5 against Baltimore, Burrow struggled mightily, throwing for just 183 yards with an interception and two fumbles, losing one to the Ravens defense in a brutal 27-3 loss.

This time around against his rivals, the Iowa-born QB did not falter.

“He was in total control,” said NBC’s Tony Dungy during Week 7’s Sunday Night Football pregame show. “He had seen this stuff before, and nothing fazed him. He looked tremendous.”

A lot can change in a year’s time — consider what the arrival of Burrow’s old friend, Ja’Marr Chase, has done for the team.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
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Nearly half of Burrow’s yards on Sunday went to Chase, his former LSU teammate. The No. 5 overall pick in April’s draft, Chase became the second-youngest player in league history with a 200-yard game, trailing just Mike Evans (who had a three-TD game of his own on Sunday for Tampa Bay).

Chase, who we featured earlier this season, has amassed an insane 754 receiving yards in the first seven games of his career, obliterating Harlan Hill’s previous NFL record of 685 yards set back in 1954. We’re seeing rookie production at wide receiver that we’ve literally never seen before.

The 6-foot-1 phenom is the fifth rookie since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger with multiple games of 150 receiving yards and a TD, joining Randy Moss, former LSU star Justin Jefferson, Torrey Smith, and Ken Burrow.

(No relation to Joe.)

“Ja’Marr Chase looks like he’s the best wide receiver in the NFL,” NBC’s Rodney Harrison said.

Cincinnati not only has the most dynamic young quarterback-wide receiver combo in the league; they’re both in merely the early stages of their rookie contracts, delivering incredible return on investment to date. Burrow’s four-year, $36.1 million rookie deal ensures he won’t be an unrestricted free agent until 2025, while Chase’s four-year, $30.8 million pact won’t bring him to the open market until 2026.

And right on cue, these two high-flying phenoms get a chance to flex next Sunday against the 1-5 New York Jets, who have allowed the fourth-most points in the NFL this year.

With an endorsement list that includes Nike, Fanatics, and Bose that will only grow with his success on the field, Burrow is poised to light the NFL world on fire for many years to come alongside his record-setting teammate.