The Cincinnati Bengals, having made back-to-back AFC Championship games, were expected to be one of the contenders once again this season, as Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and that offense were supposed to be among the NFL’s best.
However, through four games the Bengals offense has been pretty dreadful, averaging 12.25 points per game through four games, including a pair of 3-point outings on their way to a 1-3 start. Sunday was yet another dismal effort, as they could only muster 211 total yards against the Titans in a 27-3 loss and afterwards, frustrations seemed to be mounting. Burrow has dealt with a lingering calf issue since training camp, but even beyond his health not at 100 percent, something has seemed off with Cincinnati’s offense. The line play has not been good, seemingly regressing from last year, and that’s contributed to inconsistency in the passing game and a fairly ineffective rushing attack.
As tends to happen when the offense isn’t performing, the Bengals star pass catcher Ja’Marr Chase doesn’t seem particularly pleased with being seen as part of the problem. After Sunday’s loss, in which Chase was among the few bright spots with 7 catches and 73 yards, Chase declared emphatically that he’s “always f**king open,” via WCPO’s Marshall Kramsky.
— Marshall Kramsky (@marshallkramsky) October 1, 2023
Chase is far from the first and will be far from the last star receiver to make such a declaration, and it is hard to pin much of their struggles on him. He had 12 catches for 141 yards a week ago and 7 for 73 on Sunday, meaning he’s probably not all that far off from the truth when he says he’s always open. The problem is, Burrow doesn’t have the time to get to him in his progression and also doesn’t have his normal mobility to extend plays and find his longtime favorite target dating back to their LSU days. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bengals can figure something out on offense in the next two weeks facing the Cardinals and Seahawks before they continue their NFC West tour with a showdown against the very good 49ers defense. Arizona certainly feels like a get-right spot to lower tensions, but if they sputter again against the Cardinals, we’ll see how Chase and others respond with tensions already high.