Tue, 31 Jan 2023

Pregame Notebook: Bengals Welcome Back Chase Last Amid Paycor Roar

Cincinnati Bengals
05 Dec 2022, 20:58 GMT+10

Geoff Hobson

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase emerged for pregame warmups Sunday at Paycor Stadium with a skip and hop before picking up the bounce of the tennis balls fired at him and wide receiver Tee Higgins by wide receivers coach Troy Walters.

That's his usual pregame routine, but Sunday was far from routine. It's his first game back since re-aggravating his hairline hip fracture Oct. 23 and it comes against the Kansas City team he scorched for an NFL rookie-record 266 yards here at Paycor back on Jan. 2.

When he was announced last for the starting lineup after quarterback Joe Burrow, Paycor shook.

Head coach Zac Taylor wouldn't say if he planned to put Chase on a pitch count "it's a feel," but Chase sounded like he was ready. He wanted to make sure and didn't want to push it and that's why he decided to come back Sunday and not last week in Tennessee.

Chase realizes the offense is still in pretty good sync (it averaged 28 points in the four games he missed) and he's kept an eye on how much time quarterback Joe Burrow has been getting to throw.

"He looks like (he has) more time back there," Chase said last week. "He's patting the ball a little bit. Not saying the receivers aren't getting open, but that our line is blocking incredibly good right now. Joe has the time to sit back there and pat the ball. "

Any resemblance to this year's Chiefs secondary and the one that gave up that third-and-27 to Chase late in the Bengals' 34-31 win at Paycor is purely coincidental. Three of the four starters are new and three of the top four cornerbacks are rookies.

Third-and-27?

"Joe threw the ball in the air and I caught it," Chase said. "Basically. He was just looking for me, threw it up and gave me a chance."

According to Elias, Chase can tie his college teammate and fellow NFL Rookie of the Year Justin Jefferson as the third fastest ever to reach 2,100 receiving yards with 40 more. He would join Jefferson, Lance Alworth and Billy Howton at 25 games.

SLANTS AND SCREENS: With running back Joe Mixon (concussion) missing his second straight game, look for backup Samaje Perine to log some Bengals highs against the Chiefs. He's two carries shy of equaling last year's 55 and ten shy of matching his Cincy high of 63 carries in 2020 and his most since his rookie year he carried 175 times for Washington in 2020 ...

Nose tackle Josh Tupou (calf) is active for the first time since week six ...

Punter Kevin Huber was inactive for the third straight with Drue Chrisman elevated from the practice squad again and the Bengals have to make a call for the next game because Chrisman is out of elevations ...

With Tupou up, Jay Tufele was inactive for the first time since week five, but played well in Tupou's absence ...

Also inactive was offensive linemen Jackson Carman and D'Ante Smith and defensive end Jeff Gunter ...

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