To say the Cincinnati Bengals have had a weird 2021 season would be an understatement. The team needed a walk-off field goal to beat the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3, lost to the Green Bay Packers in overtime in Week 5 in a game that featured six total missed kicks, and gave up 400 yards passing to Mike White in a Week 8 loss to the New York Jets. Despite all of that, the Bengals still entered Week 13 at 7-4 and with a favorable path to make the AFC playoffs.
The Los Angeles Chargers have also had a bizarre season. They looked like Super Bowl contenders after a 4-1 start, then dropped four of their next six games. A meeting between the two teams was bound to get a little funky, and that happened almost as soon as the game started.
Case in point: midway through the first quarter, Bengal QB Joe Burrow hit star rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with a deep ball that seemed like it could have led to a breakaway touchdown. Instead, Chase bobbled the ball and it ended up in the hands of Chargers defensive back Mike Davis for an interception.
We saw DeSean Jackson turn a likely breakaway touchdown into a fumble earlier this year. This blunder by Chase during an otherwise magnificent rookie season is just as bad as that.
Chase’s fumble was only the tip of the iceberg in how weird this game would get. The Chargers would get out to 24-0 lead before the Bengals scored 22 straight points. The Chargers would then score 17 straight points to close the game out. Los Angeles won, 41-22.
The Burrow to Chase connection will have better days. Chase is probably still the front runner for Rookie of the Year, but Patriots QB Mac Jones is making a strong push. Just know the Bengals will never play a normal game.