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Casey Hayward targeted heavily in Week 1

The Chargers have a good cornerback named Casey Hayward

Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Maybe let’s give Joe Burrow some extra credit — or grief — for this one. He’s not afraid to attack one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks.

Chargers corner Casey Hayward recorded a career-high 12 tackles on LA’s 16-13 win over the Bengals on Sunday and that’s because Burrow was giving him an incredible amount of opportunities. More than 17 of them.

According to Pro-Football-Reference’s advanced stats column, Hayward was targeted an NFL-high 17 times by Burrow on Sunday. This amount of attention might make you expect that the corner was either too new or too old, but Hayward is neither and he produced a respectable result: 10 catches for 93 yards and no touchdowns. That included 58 yards through the air and 35 yards after the catch, but ultimately 5.5 yards per target on 17 attempts with no touchdowns is an exceptional result in any game.

He also saved touchdowns and was tight enough on A.J. Green to force an offensive pass interference penalty on the key play of the game.

Though there was immense hype on the Bengals receivers going into the season — and don’t get me wrong, the production may soon come — Hayward and friends held Green to five catches on nine targets for 51 yards. They held Tyler Boyd to four catches for 33 yards on five targets and John Ross to two catches and 17 yards on five targets. Former Rams receiver Mike Thomas drew praise in camp but was held to two catches and 17 yards on three targets.

Hayward was targeted 48 times all of last season.