Where is Ja’Marr Chase? Bengals WR out vs. Steelers with shoulder injury

Another Bengal goes down right when they need him the most.

As Cincinnati makes a final playoff push, it’ll be without another one of it’s main contributors. The Bengals sit sixth in the AFC playoff picture with an 8-6 record, but nothing’s guaranteed with three weeks to go in the season.

Cincinnati faces division foe Pittsburgh on the road but will have to find a way to win without Ja’Marr Chase. The Bengals’ top receiver left the game against Minnesota in Week 15 and has been ruled out for Pittsburgh. It’s a big loss for a team that had suddenly started looking like a contender even without injured quarterback Joe Burrow.

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So, what happened to Chase? 

Where is Ja’Marr Chase?

Chase suffered a shoulder injury against the Vikings last Saturday. At first, he just seemed shaken up, grabbing his chest and stepping off the field for one play. But he exited entirely soon after, clutching his shoulder.

On Sunday, the team announced Chase had an AC joint sprain. Coach Zac Taylor did not originally rule him out for the Steelers game, considering Chase day-to-day. But he missed practice all week and the Bengals designated him as out by midweek. Chase’s shoulder is not considered a long-term injury, but that’s not to say he’ll be fully back on the field soon.

MORE: Ja’Marr Chase injury updates

Chase has by far been the Bengals’ top receiver with 1,156 yards on 93 receptions. He’s added seven touchdowns. Now, Jake Browning will rely much more on Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. They have significantly less success than Chase with 575 and 497 yards, respectively, but have produced when needed. 

While Jake Browning has been on the rise, playing without the team’s best receiver is a lot to overcome. Stepping in at QB for Joe Burrow after his injury, Browning turned the tide for the Bengals after an up-and-down season. They’ve won three straight, including two overtime wins. Their last loss was to Pittsburgh in Browning’s first start of the stretch, though it’s lost three straight since that win.

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