Chase provided some bulletin board material ahead of the matchup, trashing the Browns and their “elf” mascot.
“It feels like a regular game to me,” the Bengals wideout said. “It don’t feel no different. It’s just the hooping and hollering about the Cleveland Browns. I was about to call them the elves, but yeah.
“If you ask me, I don’t really pay attention to it because Cleveland is Cleveland. I look forward to the matchups that we have when we’re facing them, but other than that, I don’t really be caring.”
Chase learned in a hurry during the Week 1 matchup that this edition of the Browns might be a little different than in years past. Chase was held to five catches for 39 yards and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow hit the pine in the fourth quarter after struggling mightily, passing for a career-low 82 yards.
Chase didn’t regret his trash talk but was upset following the loss in the opener.
“It’s frustrating because I called their a** elves and we just lost to some elves so I’m pissed on my part,” Chase said, via Ben Baby of ESPN.com. “I’m pissed on that end. We missed opportunities, we didn’t capitalize on that s**t and we lost.”
Browns Clap Back at Ja’Marr Chase After Victory
There’s no doubt that the comments from Chase provided a little extra spark for the Browns, who let their play do the talking. After the game, cornerback Greg Newsome tweeted Chase’s statement, “Cleveland is Cleveland,” and a few other teammates chimed in.
Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson said he wasn’t motivated by Chase’s trash talk but felt the defense was a little extra revved up to quiet the Bengals Pro Bowl pass-catcher.
“I didn’t really get into it. It’s different,” Watson said after the game. “This is my first time pretty much in this rivalry, so I wasn’t here previously. I think defensively, of course it did. They wanted to prove a point, so I know they handled what they need to handle.”
The Browns have now won nine of their last 11 matchups against the Bengals and Joe Burrow is just 1-5 against Cleveland.
New-Look Browns Defense Shines in Victory
The Browns reshaped their defense this offseason, bringing in veteran coordinator Jim Schwartz to replace Joe Woods and acquiring key new pieces like pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson.
The Browns were in control for most of the second half but Myles Garrett sealed the victory with a big sack on Burrow on fourth down in the second half.
“I was a bit surprised just because it seemed a little bit early in the game to go for it in that situation, but just got to make the most of the opportunity,” Garrett said. “When that big moment arrives, big stars have to show up.”
The Browns were also sturdy against the run and there were no miscommunications in the secondary — two things that haunted the Browns last season. A bit of sloppy weather helped but the new-look defense looks to be the real deal under Schwartz.
J.R. De Groote covers the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Lakers for Heavy.com. He covered local and statewide sports as a reporter for West Hawaii Today and has decades of experience in digital media with previous stops at SB Nation and Bleacher Report. He has won multiple state, regional and national honors for sports reporting and photography. More about J.R. De Groote
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