As Joe Burrow walked by Ja'Marr Chase and sat down for his postgame media press conference, the first words out of his mouth were 'I thought he was dropping everything.'
The former LSU duo hooked up five times for 101 yards and a 50-yard touchdown, leading to a 27-24 overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings in the 2021 season opener. In his first game since returning from that nasty knee injury in 2020, Burrow completed 20-of-27 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns, including this 50-yarder to Chase reminiscent of so many plays the duo connected on in 2019.
The gameplan early was to get Burrow's feet wet as the offense didn't take many chances downfield but that all went out the window with the touchdown bomb to Chase. The Bengals took a 21-7 lead into halftime but struggled to get much going in the second half.
Minnesota made a comeback attempt and even forced overtime, but the Bengals defense made timely stops and an overtime drive was capped off by a 4th-and-1 throw from Burrow that set up the game winning field goal.
Burrow has so much confidence from the coaching staff that he actually audibled to the play that wound up working, which was also his third read on the play as well.
“We didn’t like the play we had called in that situation and we knew we were going to call that play if we didn’t get the look that we liked," Burrow said. "It’s been a good play for us the last two years. It didn’t work out exactly the way we thought it would. I don’t think I’ve ever thrown to C.J. [Uzomah] on that route before but we got it done.”
It was certainly a momentum boost for a Bengals team that lost a bunch of tightly contested games during Burrow's rookie season. An improved defense and the addition of a vertical threat like Chase could be just what this team needs to get on a winning track.
“You need momentum early in the season to gain more and more momentum, it keeps snowballing," Burrow said. "We felt giving up a big lead, coming back and winning the game and making big plays when they count, it’s going to serve us well going forward.”