Injured Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) walks to the locker room at halftime of the NFL 16 game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023. The Steelers led 24-0 at halftime.

Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase (shoulder) to decide Sunday if he can play

Cincinnati Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase said Friday that he plans to inform coach Zac Taylor on Sunday per whether he can play in that day’s road contest against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Chase is listed as questionable for the game due to a right shoulder injury. The ailment forced him to miss last weekend’s 34-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Chase was limited in practice the past two days and admitted he won’t be healthy on Sunday.

“I’m getting (range of motion) back,” Chase said on Friday. “It’s going to come down to tolerating pain from a hit, for real. If anything, that will be the biggest test. You can’t test that pregame. You’ll hurt yourself before you play. We’ll find out.”

Chase has caught a career-high 93 passes in 14 games this season. He also had 1,156 yards and seven touchdowns.

Cincinnati will get cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (ankle) back from injured reserve after he missed four games.

“He’s been a really quality player for us,” Taylor said of Taylor-Britt. “Brings a lot of energy to the table. So we’re excited to get him back.”

Cornerback Jalen Davis (groin) also is listed as questionable for the Bengals (8-7), who badly need a victory to bolster their playoff hopes.

For Kansas City, receiver Kadarius Toney (hip) and offensive tackle Donovan Smith (neck) have been ruled out for the second straight game.

Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed (calf) is listed as questionable after not practicing all week.

Running backs Isiah Pacheco (concussion, shoulder) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (illness) and receiver Mecole Hardman (thumb) are also questionable for Kansas City.

Complicating the running back situation for the Chiefs is that Jerick McKinnon (groin) was placed on injured reserve last Sunday.

Kansas City (9-6) also can use a win after losing five of its last eight games.

–Field Level Media

Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens outpaces the Cincinnati Bengals defense for an 86 yard touchdown in the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers use big plays to bury Bengals

Mason Rudolph threw touchdown passes of 86 and 66 yards to George Pickens to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 34-11 rout of the visiting Cincinnati Bengals Saturday.

The Steelers (8-7) intercepted Bengals quarterback Jake Browning three times and converted them into 17 points, including touchdown runs by Najee Harris and Calvin Austin III to help snap a three-game losing streak.

Pickens finished with four catches for 195 yards and two touchdowns, while Rudolph completed 17-of-27 for 290 yards.

Four weeks after piling up 421 yards against the Cincinnati defense, the Steelers again got healthy against the Bengals, amassing 397 yards on the afternoon behind a quarterback who was their third-string option before Kenny Pickett went down with an ankle injury.

The Bengals (8-7) fell behind 24-0 in the first half and could never recover as their three-game winning streak came to an end. Cincinnati fell to 0-5 in AFC North play this season.

Browning, who was starting his fifth game in place of the injured Joe Burrow, completed 28-of-42 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown.

Rudolph, making his first NFL start since a 16-16 tie vs. Detroit on Nov. 14, 2021, got off to a hot start.

Rudolph threw a simple slant to Pickens at the Pittsburgh 20. Cornerback DJ Turner II fell behind Pickens and safety Dax Hill over-pursued and slipped to the turf, allowing Pickens to race untouched for an 86-yard touchdown.

The Bengals appeared poised to answer when Jake Browning completed passes of 23 and 12 yards to Tee Higgins (five catches, 140 yards, TD) and Andrei Iosivas, respectively.

With the Bengals down to the Pittsburgh 16 facing third-and-9, Browning threw an ill-advised pass into the end zone instead of throwing the ball away and preserving the field goal chance. The pass was intercepted by Patrick Peterson.

The Steelers took the ball and marched right down the field again, driving 80 yards in 10 plays, scoring their second touchdown when Calvin Austin III ran seven yards off left tackle for a 14-0 lead.

Pittsburgh capitalized on another Cincinnati turnover as Eric Rowe picked off Browning at the Cincinnati 39 and returned it to the 24. Four plays later, Najee Harris went in from three yards for a 21-0 score.

The Bengals offense showed signs of life when they marched down the field and had first-and-10 at the Pittsburgh 14. But after a nine-yard gain, the Steelers held fast and stopped Cincinnati when Browning, following a timeout, threw incomplete for Higgins in the end zone on fourth-and-inches.

The Steelers capped their first half with a 50-yard Chris Boswell field goal at the gun to take a 24-0 lead. The Steelers gained 263 yards in the first half in Rudolph’s second appearance of the year.

–Field Level Media

Dec 16, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) runs with the ball against Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) in the first half at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase, Steelers QB Kenny Pickett ruled out

Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett have been ruled out of Saturday’s AFC North clash in Pittsburgh.

Chase separated his shoulder in the fourth quarter of Cincinnati’s 27-24 overtime victory against the Minnesota Vikings last Saturday. NFL Network reported Monday that he could end up missing multiple weeks of action for the Bengals (8-6).

“We ultimately made the decision it wasn’t going to happen,” Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said Thursday of playing Chase against the Steelers (7-7).

Chase did not participate in practice on Tuesday or Wednesday. Receivers Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd will be expected to step up in his absence.

Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph took over for Mitchell Trubisky last week and will make his first start since 2021 on Saturday. Trubisky struggled in place of Pickett, who underwent ankle surgery aiming to expedite his recovery from a high ankle sprain sustained against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 3.

“I’ve got a lot of good relationships with the guys in the locker room,” Rudolph said. “I think anytime you’re here as long as I’ve been here, you had better have some or you’re probably not a good dude.

“Guys are excited for me and I’m excited to go out there. As the third-string quarterback, (do) you feel like you are really earning your paycheck week to week? And so, I finally get to earn it this week and put my hand in the pile and go fight for victory together.”

The Bengals are in the thick of the AFC playoff race and are already playing without starting quarterback Joe Burrow, who sustained a season-ending wrist injury in a 34-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 16. Jake Browning has taken over under center.

Chase, 23, leads the team in catches (93), receiving yards (1,156) and touchdowns (seven) in 14 games this season.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Chase has 261 receptions for 3,657 yards and 29 touchdowns in 43 career games. He was selected by the Bengals with the fifth overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft out of LSU.

–Field Level Media

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks down the sideline in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

Elimination game? Steelers, Bengals drop gloves for North grudge match

Playoff football arrives early for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. Not that any manufactured intensity is required for these longtime division rivals meeting for the second time in 2023 in a high-stakes grudge match with postseason position on the line.

Much has changed since the Steelers (7-7) held on for a 16-10 win over the Bengals (8-6) in Cincinnati on Nov. 26.

“I think we continue to improve week-to-week and there are some things we need to get better at,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “I think the team is in the right mindset right now. We know it’s going to be a tough battle going on the road – 4:30, Pittsburgh – always a big challenge for us, these divisional games. Pittsburgh is a really good football team. I know they’ve lost the last couple, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not in for a big-time fight. Our guys are going to be prepared for that.”

The Steelers have lost three straight, temporarily lost starting quarterback Kenny Pickett, benched his backup Mitch Trubisky, lost starting safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to a knee injury and their other starting safety – Damontae Kazee – was suspended.

Cincinnati quarterback Jake Browning was making his first NFL start in that game and generated a concerning 222 yards of total offense.

Browning and the Bengals are back on their feet. The Bengals enter Week 16 with three straight wins, including a pair of overtime victories, and currently sit ahead of Pittsburgh and in playoff position in the packed AFC postseason picture.

Browning has completed 76 percent of his passes since Week 12 and thrown for more than 1,000 yards in his first four NFL starts, the only NFL quarterback to do so since 1950.

Under interim offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner, the Steelers have scored just 41 points in three losses.

“Our problems in a couple of these last few games have been penalties and shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Faulkner.

Mason Rudolph took over for Trubisky in last week’s loss to the Colts and will make his first start since 2021 this week unless Pickett can return from ankle surgery.

“I’ve got a lot of good relationships with the guys in the locker room,” Rudolph said. “I think anytime you’re here as long as I’ve been here, you had better have some or you’re probably not a good dude.

“Guys are excited for me and I’m excited to go out there and you know, you think as it has a third-string quarterback, you feel like you’re sort really earning your paycheck week to week. And so I finally get to earn it this week and put my hand in the pile and go fight for victory together.”

While playoff probability metrics reveal odds of 64 percent to make the playoffs with a win this week, it’s not all roses and balloons for the Bengals, either.

The Bengals are one of four 8-6 teams entering Week 16 and they have games remaining at Kansas City (9-5) and against the current AFC No. 5 seed Cleveland Browns (9-5).

Cincinnati marches ahead without starting nose tackle and run-stopper DJ Reader. He’s gone for the season with a torn quad tendon in his right leg and backup rookie corner DJ Ivey landed on injured reserve with a torn left ACL.

Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase injured his right shoulder in the overtime win against Minnesota and did not practice this week. He’s not expected to play. The Steelers could be without multiple defensive starters again, with veteran defensive back Eric Rowe and current practice squad linebacker Myles Jack in line to be elevated before Saturday’s game.

“I think the whole league has that type of attrition,” Steelers linebacker Elandon Roberts said. “It’s a long season. We can’t use it for an excuse. Obviously, our fans and the media don’t care. We have to just focus up and come out there and do our best to be victorious.

The Bengals are coming off a thrilling 27-24 overtime win against Minnesota last week in which Cincinnati erased a 14-point deficit going into the fourth quarter. Browning finished 29 of 42 for 324 yards, with 243 coming after halftime.

Cincinnati has won four of the past six meetings since December 2020, but the Steelers took two of the past three.

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) smiles after completing a deep pass in the first quarter of the NFL Week 15 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at PayCor Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023.

Bengals coach on Ja’Marr Chase: ‘We’ll see as the week goes’

Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor isn’t prepared to make any rash decisions on the availability of wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase for Saturday’s game against the host Pittsburgh Steelers.

Taylor told reporters on Tuesday that Chase wouldn’t practice that day. Taylor also said that ‘we’ll see as the week goes’ in regard to determining his star wideout’s status versus the Steelers (7-7).

Chase separated his shoulder in the fourth quarter of Cincinnati’s 27-24 overtime victory against the Minnesota Vikings last Saturday. NFL Network reported Monday that he could end up missing multiple weeks of action.

The Bengals (8-6) are in the thick of the AFC playoff race and are already playing without starting quarterback Joe Burrow, who sustained a season-ending wrist injury in a 34-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 16. Jake Browning has taken over under center.

Chase, 23, leads the team in catches (93), receiving yards (1,156) and touchdowns (seven) in 14 games this season.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Chase has 261 receptions for 3,657 yards and 29 touchdowns in 43 career games. He was selected by the Bengals with the fifth overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft out of LSU.

Receivers Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd likely will be expected to step up in Chase’s absence.

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) points to the crowd as the Bengals face the Minnesota Vikings at Paycor Stadium Saturday, December 16, 2023.

Report: Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase (shoulder) likely to miss game

Cincinnati wideout Ja’Marr Chase likely will miss the Bengals’ Saturday meeting with the host Pittsburgh Steelers due to a shoulder injury, NFL Network reported Monday night.

Chase separated his shoulder in the fourth quarter of Cincinnati’s 27-24 overtime victory against the Minnesota Vikings last Saturday. He could end up missing multiple weeks, per the report.

The Bengals (8-6) are in the thick of the AFC playoff race and are already playing without starting quarterback Joe Burrow, who sustained a season-ending wrist injury in a 34-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 16. Jake Browning has taken over under center.

In 14 games this season, Chase, 23, has 93 receptions for 1,156 yards and seven touchdowns. He is in his third season with Cincinnati after the Bengals selected him with the fifth overall pick of the 2021 draft out of LSU.

Receivers Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd likely will be expected to step up in Chase’s absence.

Pittsburgh (7-7) earned a 16-10 win at Cincinnati on Nov. 26.

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) makes a leaping catch in the fourth quarter of the NFL Week 15 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at PayCor Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023. The Bengals won on an overtime field goal.

Report: Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase has separated shoulder

Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase sustained a separated right shoulder during his team’s game against the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, NFL Network reported.

Chase, who is set to undergo further testing on Sunday, was injured as he reeled in a 24-yard reception early in the fourth quarter of the Bengals’ 27-24 overtime win. He came to the sideline briefly before returning to the contest, however he exited with three minutes left in regulation and was ruled out in overtime. Chase returned to the sideline in street clothes wearing a sling.

NFL Network reported that while it’s unclear of the severity of the injury, it is possible that Chase could be available for Cincinnati (8-6) in its road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7) on Saturday.

Chase, 23, leads the team in catches (93), receiving yards (1,156) and touchdowns (seven) in 14 games this season.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Chase has 261 receptions for 3,657 yards and 29 touchdowns in 43 career games. He was selected by the Bengals with the fifth overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft out of LSU.

–Field Level Media

Dec 16, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) hands the ball off to Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) in the first quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Browning rallies Bengals to OT win over Vikings

Evan McPherson booted a 29-yard field goal with 3:11 left in overtime to rally the Cincinnati Bengals past the visiting Minnesota Vikings 27-24 on Saturday.

Jake Browning connected with Tyler Boyd for 44 yards on third-and-9 to move the ball to the Vikings’ 13-yard line to set up the game-winning kick for Cincinnati (8-6).

Tee Higgins caught a pass at the Minnesota 1 and then extended the ball with his right arm and hand over the goal line as he was being tackled by Akayleb Evans for a 21-yard, game-tying touchdown with 39 seconds left in regulation.

Browning finished 29-for-42 passing for 324 yards, two touchdowns with one interception.

The Bengals rallied from deficits of 17-3 and 24-17 in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 points in the 15 minutes to force overtime.

The Bengals stopped Minnesota (7-7) on fourth-and-1 at the Cincinnati 42 with 6:12 left in overtime, giving the Bengals, who had the ball to start the extra period, another chance to win the game.

Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens threw a pair of touchdown passes to Jordan Addison, who finished with six catches for 111 yards while Ty Chandler set up Minnesota’s go-ahead score in the fourth quarter with a 30-yard yard run. Chandler finished with 132 yards on 23 carries and a 1-yard TD run.

Bengals star defensive end Trey Hendrickson was offsides with 6:21 left in the fourth quarter, wiping out a Germaine Pratt pick-6 that would’ve given the Bengals a late lead.

Hendrickson finished with 1.5 sacks and now has 15 for the season, surpassing his official franchise mark of 14 set in 2021.

The Bengals did not have the services of star receiver Ja’Marr Chase on Cincinnati’s game-tying drive, as he headed to the locker room with a right shoulder injury. He had four catches for 64 yards.

Before the 13-yard Browning-to-Higgins touchdown connection to open the fourth quarter, the Vikings hadn’t allowed a touchdown since Courtland Sutton’s game-winning score for Broncos at the end of the game on Nov. 19 in Denver.

The Bengals started the scoring with a 34-yard Evan McPherson field goal for a 3-0 lead.

The Vikings then marched 75 yards in 12 plays for their first touchdown in three weeks, with the drive capped by a 1-yard run from Chandler with 2:23 left in the first quarter.

On the drive, the Bengals lost starting nose tackle DJ Reader to a right knee injury, as he was carted off with 7:46 left in the first quarter.

Later in the first quarter, the Bengals lost another defensive player to a knee injury as DJ Ivey was carted to the locker room with a left knee injury while covering a punt.

The Vikings came out of halftime and established a two-score lead when Mullens stood in during a heavy rush and found Addison over the middle. Addison turned it into a 37-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown and a 14-3 Minnesota lead.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle DJ Reader (98) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals’ DJ Reader, DJ Ivey carted off field vs. Vikings

Bengals starting nose tackle DJ Reader and rookie cornerback DJ Ivey were carted off the field with knee injuries in Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings in Cincinnati.

Reader was injured with 7:46 left in the first quarter after he went to the ground on a run by Ty Chandler. Reader was tended to by Cincinnati’s training staff before being surrounded by his teammates and carted to the locker room.

The team declared him out of the game several minutes later with a right knee injury.

Ivey was covering a punt late in the second quarter and fell to the turf. He was examined on the sideline before being driven to the locker room with a left knee injury and subsequently ruled out. In addition to special teams coverage, Ivey serves as the primary backup for the Bengals in their secondary and their fourth defensive back behind DJ Turner, Chido Awuzie and Mike Hilton.

Reader, 29, is in his eighth NFL season, fourth with the Bengals. On the season, he has 34 tackles (two for loss), one sack, seven quarterback hits and a fumble recovery.

Ivey, 23, was a seventh-round pick in the 2023 draft.

Both teams entered the game with 7-6 records, with the Vikings sitting in a wild-card playoff position. The Bengals were in the hunt, one of six AFC teams fighting for a playoff berth.

–Field Level Media

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) warms up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings star WR Justin Jefferson active vs. Bengals

Minnesota Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson is active for Saturday’s game against the host Cincinnati Bengals.

Jefferson was listed as questionable after sustaining a chest injury while making a 15-yard catch across the middle on a pass from Josh Dobbs in Minnesota’s 3-0 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

He was limited in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday before being a full participant in Thursday’s session.

Jefferson, 24, has 38 catches for 598 yards and three touchdowns in six games this season.

While Jefferson is active, the Vikings (7-6) ruled the following players as inactive for the game: guard Chris Reed, running back Alexander Mattison, offensive tackle Brian O’Neill, wide receiver Jalen Nailor, safety Lewis Cine, tight end Nick Muse and Dobbs.

The Bengals (7-6), in turn, listed halfback Chris Evans, center Trey Hill, defensive tackle Jay Tufele, offensive tackle Jackson Carman and linebacker Joe Bachie as inactive.

–Field Level Media