Chase Young had a great game on Saturday.
He did everything you could ask a defensive end to do and he should be happy with that.
Speaking with reporters after the game, Young was definitely in a good mood, until the first question came.
“What’s up with those hands, Chase?”
In the second quarter and faced with a third down and four yards to go, Cincinnati dialed up a screen pass to running back Michael Warren, which was blown up by Buckeye cornerback Shaun Wade.
Wade popped the ball up in the air and Young put his hands under the ball and began to take off up field for what could have been a 37-yard pick six. Young failed to hold onto the ball, however, and it quickly fell to the ground
Defensive ends don’t get too many shots at those, and the dropped pass hit Young hard.
“I was sick, man. I knew it was coming,” he said of the good-natured ribbing. “It’s all good. There’s still a lot more games. You never know when you’ll have another opportunity. I’m cool, I just left money on the field today. I can’t do that.”
As soon as the ball hit the ground, so did Young, falling to his knees and dropping his head in anguish.
A pick six, gone as quickly as it presented itself. And it was right there.
“Maybe. That’s what my teammates were telling me,” Young said. “It was like, I had it. I had it.”
Young and his teammates weren’t the only ones who thought they were about to witness an interception return for a touchdown.
“Well, yes, I did, actually,” said head coach Ryan Day. “I almost blew out my Achilles’ jumping up and down because I thought we had that. Still feel a little loose there.”
Asked if there was a chance he was simply trying to protect his coach’s tendons and that’s why he chose to drop the ball, Young laughed and shook his head.
“Nah, I tried to do my best on catching it. Next time I’ve just got to hold it in,” he said.
As if Young’s pass-rushing abilities weren’t already a strong indication of why he is a defensive end and not somewhere on the offensive side of the ball, the dropped interception was all the proof that anyone should have needed.
And while his teammates may give him some playful grief, the play was sufficient to be its own lesson for Young.
“He was already down on himself,” cornerback Jeff Okudah said before adding, “I wish I would have come by and tried to get a lateral or something.”
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson is always talking to his players about adding to their tool boxes by enhancing their respective skill sets. Which is why when Young was asked if he was going to hit the JUGs machine after the game to work on his hands like the receivers do, he didn’t hesitate to follow along.
“Yeah, for sure, definitely the JUGs,” he said, knowing what the people wanted to hear.