CINCINNATI (AP)Ja’Marr Chase says he’s been getting open all season.
Even during the first three games, as injured quarterback Joe Burrow struggled to get the Bengals’ pass game on track, Chase claimed to be like the 7-Eleven convenience store – always open.
The Burrow-to-Chase connection – it’s been a thing since they played together at LSU and won a national championship in the 2019 season – produced three touchdowns and reignited the Bengals last week in a 34-20 confidence-building win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Burrow looked far more comfortable scrambling and throwing. His lack of mobility had been a struggle all season with the lingering effects of a strained calf muscle. He said Wednesday that it’s “pretty close” to being 100% healed.
Now the Bengals have a chance to win two in a row, go into the bye week at .500 and try to keep building momentum on the other side. Cincinnati hosts the well-rested Seattle Seahawks (3-1) on Sunday.
After a loss in the season opener at home against the Los Angeles Rams, the Seahawks have won three straight before their bye week behind some first- and second-year players making major contributions as well as 33-year-old quarterback Geno Smith.
“It was a great break. Hopefully we can maximize the opportunity coming out of it,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “I’m concerned about that. We have to do a really good job about being on the details and the discipline that it takes to make sure that we get back on track because it’s just not automatic that everything is exactly the same as when you left it.”
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
Last season, Cincinnati lost the first two and was 4-4 before winning the next 10 games and the AFC North title.
“We’ll worry about the standings later in the year,” Burrow said Wednesday. “It’s Week 6. The standings after Week 6 mean absolutely nothing. I think we’ve proven that the last couple of years, and so we’ve just got to focus on being 1-0 this week and getting better every day in practice. We’ll go from there.”
Most teams don’t like having a bye early in the season, but for Seattle it fell at a terrific time for getting some players healthy.
Left tackle Charles Cross (toe) and right guard Phil Haynes (calf) both have a chance of returning. Cross has been out since getting hurt in the third quarter of Seattle’s Week 1 loss and injuries to the offensive line have left the Seahawks scrambling to fill spots at times.
It will also help on defense. Safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Tre Brown have both been cleared to return from concussions. Defensive tackle Jarran Reed left the Week 4 win with a shin injury but is expected to play.
The only two defensive players that remain a question for Seattle are reserve defensive backs Coby Bryant (toe) and Artie Burns (hamstring), while left guard Damien Lewis (ankle) is uncertain on offense.
Chase’s 15 catches last week broke a single-game team record that stood since 1998. He became just the fifth player in NFL history to have at least 15 catches, 150 receiving yards and three receiving TDs in a single game. At 23, he became the fourth player in league history under age 24 to have 15 receptions in a game. Chase’s first TD last week was his 200th reception.
Seattle receiver DK Metcalf was duly impressed, but he likes the chances of rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon to keep Chase in check. Witherspoon is one of the top rookies in the NFL. He had a 97-yard pick-6 in the win over the Giants and also has four pass breakups and two sacks.
“ Just the long ball that Burrow threw to (Chase) on like a 70-yard bomb, just how effortlessly he caught the ball,” Metcalf said. “He’s just a great receiver, tip my hat off to him with what he has done his first three years in the league. It’ll be fun to watch Sunday, but I think (Witherspoon) will get the best of him.”
HIGGINS, AWUZIE QUESTIONABLE
Receiver Tee Higgins (ribs) and cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (back) are day to day. Both missed the game last week. Trenton Irwin took Higgins’ place in the starting lineup and had the best game of his career with eight catches for 60 yards.
AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed.
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