The Bengals had no semblance of a run game. To make matters worse, wide receiver Tee Higgins was on the sideline in street clothes with a hamstring injury.
Will Tee Higgins Play This Week at Jacksonville?
Whether the run game ever shows up the rest of the season is worthy of debate, but where Higgins is concerned, head coach Zac Taylor sounded more optimistic when asked if things are trending in a positive direction for his Week 13 availability. Cincinnati will play on Monday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I think so,” he said. “He’s been working with the trainers, and he’ll continue to do that. We get an extra day, with Wednesday really being just a bonus day. And so we’ll see where he’s at.”
Higgins has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury he suffered in practice on Nov. 8, the Wednesday before the Houston Texans game.
With Higgins out, Ja’Marr Chase has had to deal with even more attention than he usually draws. In the three games without Higgins, Chase has 11 receptions for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
Those are solid enough numbers, but adding Higgins to the available options for an inexperienced quarterback such as Browning should provide a substantial boost for an offense that has scored just 13 points and 333 yards in six quarters with Browning at the helm.
Ja’Marr made the catch with a mouthguard in his hand 😮
— NFL (@NFL) November 26, 2023
On Friday, Taylor bristled at the notion that Higgins is making a business decision and not playing due to the fact that the season is spiraling and he will be a free agent in the offseason.
“He did this two weeks and two days ago. That is not that long,” Taylor said. “I think he’s on a good track. I’m encouraged to where he’s progressing to. It feels like it was a long time ago. It was not. He did this on a Wednesday of Texans week. That was 16 days ago.”
“For a receiver, we just want to be mindful,” Taylor added. “So we got the sense we didn’t feel good about him going this week. So, let’s not push him at practice. He’s pushing himself in the rehab process, but there was no reason to integrate him into practice and risk a setback with him doing something away from the trainers.”
In addition to Higgins, Taylor said things look good for starting cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt to return this week as well. Taylor-Britt re-aggravated a quad injury in the 34-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 16 and did not play Sunday against the Steelers, marking the first game he has missed since making his debut in Week 7 last year.
Chidobe Awuzie got the start for Taylor-Britt, while rookie DJ Turner II made his seventh consecutive start at the other cornerback spot.
Taylor-Britt leads the Bengals in interceptions (four) and passes defensed (10).
Taylor said linebacker Logan Wilson sprained his ankle against the Steelers. Wilson finished the game, but the Bengals will monitor how he progresses this week.
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