One of the most hotly anticipated matchups heading into Super Bowl LVI is Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey facing off against Cincinnati Bengals rookie receiver Ja'Marr Chase.
The Bengals are keenly aware of Ramsey's ability to shut down opposing wideouts, but wideout Tyler Boyd said Thursday that Cincy doesn't fear the corner.
"I know watching tape that he has (covered one specific player)," Boyd said, via the team's official website. "He has traveled with a guy. He has played both left and right corner. He even has clips of when he was in the slot. He's a guy that can play it all, but we're not anticipating guys singling out other guys playing them one-on-one.
"We don't care what's going to happen, how you are going to play us. We're going to continue to play our game. We're not going to not throw (Chase) the ball because Ramsey is on him. However they decide to play, they're going to have to match us."
While Chase, who generated a rookie record 1,455 yards and 13 TDs, is the main threat, the Bengals also boast Boyd and Tee Higgins, who can give the Rams fits. Higgins, who earned 1,091 yards and six touchdowns, could be in for a big game as an over-the-middle target, where the Rams' coverage is weakest. And Boyd, who generated 828 yards and 5 TDs, could feast on one-on-ones.
Even if Ramsey shadows Chase, the Bengals have the juice to move the ball through the air.
According to Next Gen Stats, Ramsey has lined up wide on 88.1 percent of snaps this postseason (75 snaps as LCB, 73 snaps as RCB), while Chase has lined up out wide on 80.0 percent of his plays this postseason, portending a clash between the burgeoning stars.
Ramsey has locked down opposing wideouts. According to Pro Football Focus, Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans (in Divisional Round) is the only WR to have 60-plus yards while covered by Ramsey in a game this season, including playoffs. Of Evans' 97 yards on five catches against Ramsey, 55 came on a fourth-quarter TD (Tom Brady's final touchdown in the NFL).
Other notable receivers when covered by Ramsey this season: Justin Jefferson: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 24 yards; DK Metcalf (Week 15): 8 targets, 3 receptions, 25 yards; Davante Adams: 5 targets, 5 receptions, 41 yards; A.J. Brown: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 20 yards; Metcalf (Week 5): 3 targets, 3 receptions, 58 yards, TD; Chris Godwin: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 50 yards.
Chase might have the advantage on deep shots, even in one-on-ones with Ramsey. Including playoffs, Chase earned 512 yards on deep passes thrown outside the numbers in a single season, most since 2016. According to PFF, Ramsey has been least effective when defending the deep shot. On passes of 20-plus air yards, Ramsey has allowed a 91.7 passer rating, 12.0 yards per attempt and 2 TDs with 1 INT. On passes of fewer than 20 yards, Ramsey has allowed a 75.0 passer rating with 5.8 yards per attempt and 2 TDs with 3 INTs.