Bengals taking wait and see approach with Chase’s banged-up back

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

CINCINNATI ― Ja’Marr Chase injured his back during the Cincinnati Bengals’ win against Buffalo, but continued playing through it, and now his status could be up in the air for this week’s matchup against Houston.

The Bengals wide receiver said he felt pain when he landed on his back, and it continued to get worse throughout the 24-18 win Sunday night at Paycor Stadium. He was still feeling sore Monday.

Asked if he will dial things back in practice this week, Chase said he won’t know until Tuesday, the team’s scheduled off day.

“All I can do is pray and be a good teammate and be there for those guys and try to get healthy,” Chase said. “That’s the only thing I can do right now. Everybody is counting on me to be healthy.”

Bengals coach Zac Taylor believed the injury occurred when Chase went up for a deep ball from Joe Burrow in the third quarter and came down on his back, then was slow to get up. Burrow had thrown the ball a little late and Chase nearly made a play on it, but couldn’t hold onto the ball with Dane Jackson defending.

Taylor said he didn’t want to raise any warning flags just yet because guys are usually sore the day after a game anyway.

“He’s sore right now, so it’s impossible to say the day after a game and we’ll just take it day to day with him,” Taylor said.

Chase was not as heavily involved Sunday as he usually is because of how the Bills were covering him. He finished with just four catches for 41 yards on eight targets while Tee Higgins stepped up for 110 yards on eight catches and the tight ends saw more targets than past games.

The fact the Bengals were able to find success in other aspects of their offense when Chase wasn’t at the top of his game is a positive sign moving forward, especially as the season crosses the midway point.

Taylor often refers to how well the team has played come November the past two seasons, but this year he feels like the Bengals started hitting that stride a tad sooner. The Bengals took a noticeable shift in Week 8 with their win at San Francisco, on Oct. 29, and followed that with another marquee victory Sunday, beating the defending AFC East champion Bills in primetime.

It was Cincinnati’s fourth straight win, but the last two in that stretch account for the team’s highest yardage totals as the offense is now complimenting the production of a defense that has 10 turnovers during the current win streak.

“It’s everybody doing their job,” Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt said. “We’re finally playing complimentary football. That’s all it is. We’re just doing our job. Every phase is doing their job and feeding off each other.”

Cincinnati was 3-0 in November last year and won all eight regular-season games after October. The team went 2-1 in November in 2021, but the final two wins that month were springboards to a late-season push that sent the Bengals to the Super Bowl.

This month could be an important time for the Bengals to pick up steam and make a climb in the AFC standings. They are home for three of the four games in November, with the lone road game being a big Thursday Night Football matchup at Baltimore on Nov. 16.

“We’re at the point of the season where you just got to control what you can control, so the pressure, there’s always pressure,” Taylor said. “You’ve got to win every week because of the way that these seasons can shake out and the teams that can rise and fall as it goes. And so, our team just knows that you just got to take a week in and week out and do everything you can to find a win.”

Almost immediately after the game Sunday, the focus already was turning on “getting the next one” with the Houston Texans up next at home Sunday afternoon.

Quarterback Joe Burrow acknowledged the importance of getting the win over Buffalo but said he only views it as being 1-0 this week. Now the Bengals need to be 1-0 in Week 10 and keep building.


Texans at Bengals, 1 p.m., CBS, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7

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