Ja’Marr Chase and the Cincinnati Bengals (8-7) meet Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (9-6) again this coming Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium — but likely not for the last time.
In what’s a rematch of the last two AFC Championship Games, what impresses Chase about the unit that he’ll line up against? Nothing. Literally, “nothing” stands out to him about Kansas City’s secondary.
“If I’m being honest, nothing, they just know how to play us,” Chase told the Cincinnati press core Thursday on what stands out about the Chiefs secondary. “They know the leverages, they know what splits we in; they just know what we’re gonna do at certain moments; they throw a little double-doubles at us to stop the two best players on our side, and that’s all they do. It’s not really like they got a Jalen Ramsey on their squad.”
Chase later doubled down on his comments.
“They can take it how they want it; I don’t care,” Chase said. “At the end of the day, there’s only so much that I can do myself. It’s not like I’m Iron Man; I can’t throw the football to myself. It’s a team sport. I know what I see on paper, and I know what I see in-game. That’s why they double everybody because they can’t do it one-on-one. The best player on their team is [L’Jarius] Sneed, and that’s a fact. Everybody knows that. That’s why they double everything they see.”
While Kansas City has struggled against the run (it’s surrendering 113.5 rushing yards per game, good for 18th in the NFL), it has been a plausible unit on the whole, surrendering just 173.8 passing yards (third), 287.3 total yards (second) and 17.7 points (second) per game. Defensive linemen Chris Jones and George Karlaftis, linebacker Nick Bolton and the aforementioned Sneed headline Kansas City’s defense.
The Chiefs’ issues have primarily come on the other side of the ball. While they’re averaging 22.2 points per game (tied for 11th), it’s their lowest offensive output since Patrick Mahomes became the full-time starting quarterback in 2018. To boot, Mahomes has thrown a career-high 14 interceptions, while boasting a 91.7 passer rating — his lowest mark as a starter.
Kansas City is fresh off a 20-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, which saw quarterback Aidan O’Connell not complete a pass after the first quarter and the Raiders’ two touchdowns come on defensive scores. The Chiefs have lost five of their last eight games.
Chase missed the Bengals’ Week 16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a shoulder injury suffered the week prior and is questionable to play against Kansas City this weekend. Cincinnati continues to roll with Jake Browning at quarterback in the aftermath of Joe Burrow suffering a season-ending wrist injury in Week 11.
Chiefs vs. Bengals in Week 17: Must-win for Kansas City?
Across the 14 games he has appeared in this season, Chase has totaled 93 receptions for 1,156 yards and seven touchdowns. The two-time Pro Bowler and 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year has posted 1,000-plus receiving yards in each of his three seasons in the NFL.
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