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Quick Hits: Finally, Paycor Hosts Ja'Marr Vs. Lamar; The Rumble Lives; Why Bengals LT Orlando Brown Jr. Calls It A Homecoming; Ravens OL Dented

WR Ja'Marr Chase laughs during practice at the Kettering Health Practice Fields on Wednesday, September 13, 2023.
WR Ja'Marr Chase laughs during practice at the Kettering Health Practice Fields on Wednesday, September 13, 2023.

For the first time Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12), a Paycor Stadium crowd gets to see Ja'Marr (Chase) vs. Lamar (Jackson) in the Bengals' home opener.

Chase, Cincinnati's two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, has averaged 115.5 yards in his five games against Baltimore, the most anybody has had in at least four games against the always vaunted Baltimore defense.

Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP who hasn't played here the last two seasons because of injury, hopes to stay unbeaten in four Paycor games and lift his record against the Bengals to 7-1.

And Chase, after catching 39 yards in the Cleveland mist last Sunday, hopes it doesn't rain on their parade.

When Channel 5's Olivia Ray informed him it looks like rain after Thursday's practice, Chase said, "Lovely." The Channel 5 website is calling for a 30 percent chance of showers.

Asked if it was the blitz or the rain that prevented quarterback Joe Burrow from completing a pass longer than 20 yards last Sunday, Chase opted for rain.

"You need to grip the ball to throw the ball, so I'd say rain," Chase said. "If we get rain, we just have to adjust to it this time. The ball was slipping out of Bro's hand. Then when we'd catch the ball, it slipped through the glove. It was horrible."

RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE LIVES: The last time the Ravens were here, Bengals left end Sam Hubbard delivered the biggest play in franchise history in a Wild Card win. With the Ravens on the Bengals 1 looking to break a 17-17 game early in the fourth quarter, middle linebacker Logan Wilson punched the ball out of the hands of Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley. Hubbard picked up the fumble and was gone for the winning touchdown, although he turned the wrong way when he didn't realize the scoreboard image was reversed.

Lamar Jackson recalled for the Baltimore media this week what he was thinking at home. He blamed himself for leaving the set.

"I had to go use the restroom. By the time I walked to the bathroom, I was hearing cheers," Jackson said. "I'm like, 'What happened? What happened?' I looked and 94 was running the other way, so I almost hit my screen, but it is what it is."

It will be what it is when they show the replay a few times on Sunday. It may drive Jackson to another rest stop.

"I would love to see it again," Chase said. "I just want Sam to run to the sideline next time. That way he could score without looking back. Other than that, I'd rather see that as many times as possible."

But Chase said he's done that, too; looked up at the board and lost his bearings.

"Baltimore game when I did that slant and I spun off," said Chase of his 82-yard-catch-and-run in Baltimore during his rookie year two years ago. "I was looking at the top and the ball almost slipped out. I never did it again after I did that."

RAVENS PLAN? Chase's 39 yards were his fewest in 11 games, since he had 50 in the Sunday night loss in Baltimore last Oct. 9. But the Ravens have a batch of new cornerbacks with Marcus Peters gone, Marlon Humphrey injured, and Rock Ya-Sin taking minimal snaps coming off a knee injury. They've been using the well-traveled Ronald Darby and ex-safeties Brandon Stephens and Ar'Daruius Washington. Safety Marcus Williams is also out.

"It's got a lot of different things, a lot of different looks. We've been taking advantage of what they've been giving us lately, but they might change it up," Chase said. "They don't have the cornerbacks that they usually have now, so they probably might mix it up on us. Might throw a lot of different coverages.

"Their whole defense flies to the ball. They play fast and physical. That's the thing about the Baltimore Ravens, that's what they're known as and it's just for us to make the first guy miss, get the first down. That's our job as receivers and just make a play."

PAYCOR HOMECOMING: When Bengals left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., visited Ravens training camp as a big little man, long before they drafted him in 2018, he would take the candy out of the dish on the desk of personnel chief Eric DeCosta.

Sunday, he'll be trying to take a lot more than that as the Bengals hope to draw even at 1-1 with the Ravens in the AFC North

"Baltimore, I can't describe it to you," Brown said. "I got drafted by my hometown team. The feeling I had there, the opportunity they gave me and my dad. I consider it more of a homecoming than Kansas City."

And he won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs last year.

But he was born in Baltimore 27 years ago as his father, Orlando Brown Sr., became one of the faces of the Ravens' fledgling franchise as their monstrous and physical right tackle. When Zeus died suddenly at age 40 a dozen years ago, DeCosta, then general manager Ozzie Newsome, and head coach John Harbaugh gathered for the funeral, as well as owner Steve Bisciotti

"When they drafted me, it was a dream come true,' said Brown of draft whizzes Newsome and DeCosta taking him in the third round.

Brown says asking the Ravens to trade him after left tackle Ronnie Stanley signed a five-year extension that made him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL in 2020 was one of the toughest things he ever did. But he promised himself and his father he'd be a left tackle.

The irony is that Stanley has played only 13 games since he re-upped and it looks like he's not going to play Sunday with a knee issue after missing the first two practices of the week.

THAT MAN: Lamar Jackson makes his first start in Cincinnati since the 2020 finale and Brown, his draft classmate, helped him win the first three, the first of which was Jackson's first NFL start. He won it with 150 yards passing and 119 yards rushing while engineering the last ten points for a 24-21 come-from-behind victory.

But it was that spinning 47-yard touchdown run at Paycor the next season that Brown and everyone else still remembers. How Jackson froze Carlos Dunlap on the edge, bolted inside and spun away from linebacker Nick Vigil.

"I was blocking Sam Hubbard on the back side of the play," Brown said. "I could tell by the way Sam shed me that he kept the ball. I just turned and watched, honestly. I remember from my angle I saw '59' (Vigil) and him spinning off and another number (safety Shawn Williams' 36) spin off him. Then Carlos Dunlap is behind him trying to chase him down. It was crazy.

"You don't see guys do stuff like that in the NFL. Let alone college or high school, to be honest. I was always mesmerized by a lot of things "8," did as a football player. It's crazy how he was able to take over games with his ability to make plays with both his arms and legs."

Both Hubbard and linebacker Germaine Pratt were on the field and are two of the three Bengals defenders left from that day in November of 2019. Nose tackle Josh Tupou is the other.

BROTHERLY SHOVE: Bengals safety Dax Hill has a good chance to tackle his brother Sunday. They played against each other last year, but they were both limited.

This year Dax is starting and Ravens running back Justice Hill, his older brother, is coming off a career-high eight carries and nine yards in last week's win over the Texans in which starting running back J.K. Dobbins tore his Achilles'.

Dax says they've still been talking this week and on Wednesday night Justice rolled out a little trash talk. Although he has also congratulated Dax on his first NFL interception last week. He thinks they may have tackled each other once in high school in Tulsa.

They're expecting ten people on Sunday, their parents, one set of grandparents, and some long-time friends.

"I've got to make sure he doesn't stick me with the tickets and helps me pay for them," Dax said.

SLANTS AND SCREENS: Bengals middle linebacker Logan Wilson (ankle) moved from limited to full Thursday and edge-tackle Cam Sample (ankle) went from out to limited. It looks like fifth-rounder Chase Brown may make his debut Sunday because running back Chris Evans (hamstring) didn't work …

Besides Stanley, center Tyler Linderbaum (ankle) also didn't work Wednesday and Thursday and he's looking at being out as well in a big break for Cincy …

Burrow averages the most passing yards against Baltimore with a minimum of five games and Chase agrees that Burrow is a big-bounce back guy.

"It adds fuel to his fire. I know him. I know his tendencies."