All hands are officially on deck.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor confirmed after Friday's practice that Pro Bowl wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase is going to miss "some time,' with a hip issue and is expected to make a full recovery.
Taylor didn't delve into what the injury is or if the Bengals plan to put him on injured reserve, but it's clear Chase is going to miss the first NFL game of his career in Cleveland Monday night (8:15-Cincinnati's Channel 9 and ESPN) a week after he became the fastest Bengal to catch 2,000 yards in his career when in his 24th game he grabbed 130 yards in the win over the Falcons.
The Bengals are saying all hands to replace Chase and they start with a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
"Like I said since I've been here," said backup slot receiver Trent Taylor before Friday's practice, "we've got one of the best receiving corps in the league and when one of the best solo guys in the game goes down , I think you still have three guys and two phenomenal receivers in Tee and TB. The rest of the guys, we're a pretty deep group. It's hard to replace Ja'Marr, but I think we'll be perfectly fine at receiver."
Taylor, their primary punt returner, has caught three balls as a Bengal, the last one the tying two-pointer in the AFC title game on his only playoff snap. Mike Thomas, widely viewed as their No. 4, has two catches this season with one a catch-and-go 33-yarder.
Another backup receiver usually active for special teams, Stanley Morgan, Jr., looks like he'll miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury.
The X Factor may be Tyler Boyd, the reliable vet slot receiver who has lined up all over the place in his seven seasons and has been a deep threat with quarterback Joe Burrow. With four, the only NFL player with more 50-yard touchdown catches than Boyd in the last two seasons is Chase with six. Boyd stunned the Falcons last Sunday with a 60-yard touchdown on the fourth play of the game.
NICK OF TIME: Despite all the buzz about Chase being out, this game, no doubt, comes down to how they handle NFL leading rusher and resident Bengals villain Nick Chubb.
It looks like they again won't have both top nose tackles with D.J. Reader (knee) rehabbing and Josh Tupou (calf) not practicing yet after missing last Sunday's game. That means another display game for the two young tackles who have played well the last two games in rookie Zach Carter and waiver-wire pickup Jay Tufele.
Even the Bengals' reincarnated defense hasn't been able to stop Chubb. Although they finished fifth last year against the run, Chubb killed them during his fourth 100-yard game against them with the dagger in the 41-16 loss coming on a simple 70-yard sprint draw that was the longest run of the year against them. He's 6-1 against the Bengals averaging 5.5 yards per attempt.
It was that long run that put the 5-11, 227-pound Chubb's deceptive speed on display.
"He's the best back in all of football," said slot cornerback Mike Hilton. "His track record speaks for itself. His contact-balance. It takes four to five people to bring him down. And then there's his breakaway speed and I think that's something not a lot of people really notice. He always seems to hit the gas coming downhill. You've got to contain him and not let him run away."
The feisty Hilton, who excels against the run, looks at the stretch that began with the Ravens on Oct. 9 and sees a similar game against run-heavy offenses. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett is the sixth backup quarterback this season destined to play most of the game against the Bengals (Teddy Bridgewater played most of the snaps for Miami when he came off the bench), so there is a path. Brissett is respected, tough, smart. But he's not a gamebreaker with a career 6.5 yards per attempt. (By the way, Joe Burrow has 70 more yards passing in his career.
"Obviously. Baltimore had heavier personnel with a lot of two tight ends and they bring in a fullback, but these are the games I live for," Hilton said. "(Brissett) has seen a lot in his (seven) years. It's hard to confuse him. We have to keep him off balance and make them pass it when they want to run it and that will play into our hands."
SLANTS AND SCREENS: Along with Chase, Morgan and Tupou, sack ace Trey Hendrickson (neck) didn't practice for the second straight day Friday. And cornerback Eli Apple (hamstring) didn't go Friday after being limited Thursday …
In just 24 games, Chase has six 50-yard TD catches and taking dead aim on the three receivers with the most in Bengals history. According to Elias, Isaac Curtis, Chad Johnson and A.J. Green all have 13 … Boyd has five …
In just 33 games, Elias says Burrow is already within seven of Boomer Esiason's 19 touchdown throws of at least 50. Esiason (in 134) games has the third most in Bengals history. Andy Dalton, in 133 games, has 20. Ken Anderson (197) leads with 26 …
Since Bengals running back Joe Mixon came into the NFL in 2017 as a second-rounder with the 48th pick, he has the fifth most rushing yards with 4,969, according to pro football reference. Chubb, a second-rounder in 2018 at No. 35, has the third most yards since 2017 with 5,556 …