The Cincinnati Bengals are reportedly set to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers without their top offensive weapon. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Ja’Marr Chase will miss at least the Week 16 matchup in Pittsburgh and could possibly miss more time.
Losing Chase is a blow for the Bengals offense, but history shows that it doesn’t necessarily mean the offense will fall off a cliff. Enter Tee Higgins.
In 2022, Chase missed four games with a hip injury. In that span, the Bengals went 4-0, thanks to the help of Higgins stepping in to the primary wide receiver role. Higgins didn’t just produce, he produced like a true WR1.
Friendly reminder in the 4 games Ja'Marr Chase missed last season. Tee Higgins went:— Andrew Russell (@Andrew_Russell7) December 19, 2023
Caught 8 of 10 contested targets
121.2 passer rtg when targeted
11 explosive plays
With the way the runs/screens are working AND having better WR depth...RELAX.
26 catches for 371 yards and two touchdowns was enough for the Bengals to pull off wins last season. Andrew Russell also notes that the Bengals are running the ball better this season than in Chase’s absence last year. The development of the screen game with Joe Mixon and Chase Brown will also be a factor, something that wasn’t as much of a focal point last season.
Jake Browning hasn’t been relying on just his star weapons, either. Browning has targeted and connected with over eight different receivers in each of the last three games, all three of which the Bengals won.
The timeline for Chase’s return is still up in the air, but the offense should be able to pick up the slack in a group effort.
While missing Chase is a loss, it isn’t a death sentence for the Bengals offense, especially with the production we’ve seen in recent weeks.