The Cincinnati Bengals’ offense has caught fire in their last two games. After a disappointing showing on Monday Night Football against the Cleveland Browns to close out Week 8, they have been unstoppable in their following two games against the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers.
After garnering only 293 yards of total offense on the road against the Browns, the Bengals have racked up 872 yards of offense against the Panthers and Steelers. What has made those performances even more impressive is that they have come without star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase in the lineup.
Chase last played in Week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons but has been sidelined since with a hip injury. Tee Higgins has assumed the No. 1 role in the passing game in his place and handled it well, catching 16 passes for 208 yards. He doesn’t have any touchdown receptions, as a bulk of those have gone to running backs, Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine. Mixon scored five times against Carolina while Perine caught three against Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati is preparing another road trip this week as they will be facing the surging Tennessee Titans, who have gone 7-1 since an 0-2 start. It will be another hard-fought game, but the Bengals could be getting some help.
According to NFL Rumors on Twitter, there is a chance that Chase will return to the field this weekend to face off with the Titans. That would be a huge boost for Cincinnati to get their No. 1 receiver back in the fold.
Chase was finding his stride before the hip injury occurred. He had back-to-back dominating performances against the New Orleans Saints and Falcons, catching 15 passes for 262 and four touchdowns as neither team had an answer for the LSU standout.
The Bengals did not place Chase on IR, which would have sidelined him for a minimum of four games, because they believed he would be able to return before then. Having the bye week certainly helped in the healing process and was taken into consideration when Cincinnati was making a decision.
If Chase is unable to get back out there this weekend, he is trending in the right direction to be back out there in Week 13 when the Bengals are set to square off against the Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch from last season’s AFC Championship Game.