Ja'Marr Chase's return to the lineup will have to wait at least another week. Bengals coach Zac Taylor officially ruled the Pro Bowl wideout out for Sunday's game against the Titans during a pregame interview with CBS Sports. Chase, who has missed the last three weeks with a hip injury, returned to practice this week and was initially labeled as questionable to play. He was considered a game-time decision heading into the weekend.
Chase has been sidelined since suffering a hip injury during the Bengals' Week 7 victory over the Atlanta Falcons -- a game in which he nonetheless caught eight passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. He was not placed on injured reserve despite the serious injury, as the Bengals wanted to allow him space to return in a shorter timespan, if possible, despite initial projections pegging his return some time around six weeks or so from the injury.
Zac Taylor confirms that Ja'Marr Chase is OUT today against the Titans.@EvanWashburn pic.twitter.com/qeDdPQwMy3— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) November 27, 2022
In Chase's absence, Tee Higgins has assumed the role of the Bengals' unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver, and he's responded with 19 catches for 257 yards and a touchdown across Cincinnati's three games. Tyler Boyd has seen an increase in workload as well, while Trenton Irwin usurped Mike Thomas as the No. 3 wideout.
The Bengals are going to be pretty shorthanded against Tennessee. Joe Mixon will also miss the game after he did not clear the concussion protocol during the week. Samaje Perine will take Mixon's place in the lineup, while Chris Evans and Trayveon Williams figure to mix in as well. Tennessee has one of the NFL's best run defenses and the Bengals have been trending pass-heavy of late, so that figures to be the case on Sunday despite the absence of Chase.
That means Joe Burrow, Higgins, Boyd, Hayden Hurst and Co. will have to carry much of the burden of moving the ball and putting points on the board.