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WR Ja'Marr Chase: Bengals need to 'take more shots downfield'

Cincinnati Bengals star receiver Ja’Marr Chase is in unfamiliar territory by getting off to a slow start to the season.

Chase has generated fewer than 40 receiving yards in each contest to open the 2023 campaign, earning 70 total yards with no touchdowns on 10 catches. Those numbers stand in stark contrast to his first two years. In 2021, Chase opened his rookie campaign with 155 yards and two TDs on seven catches. In 2022, he had 15 catches for 183 yards and a score through two games.

Chase, however, isn't fretting about the lack of production.

"Be patient. Tee (Higgins) had the hot hand, so you know I just do my job, do what I can do, and let Tee eat," he said Monday, via Joe Danneman of FOX 19.

Through two weeks, Chase's longest reception went for 13 yards. He has seen just one pass his way of 20-plus air yards and three over 15-plus yards -- all going incomplete. The two-time Pro Bowler said the Bengals need to push the ball down the field more moving forward to open the offense.

"Got to get some go routes in there -- just get some downfield shots," Chase said. "That way, we can come back to anything else underneath."

When asked if Joe Burrow's preseason calf injury was a reason for some of the offensive struggles to open the season, Chase reiterated his call for field-stretching opportunities.

"I don't know," he responded. "I mean, we really haven't took that many shots downfield. You look at the past two games, you don't really see that many shots downfield. Got to take more shots downfield. I mean, that's why we got deep-threat guys. Take a chance."

The past two years, Burrow has been know to fling more than a few "screw it, Ja'Marr is down there somewhere" heaves. They've been noticeably missing from the offense out of the gate in 2023. Burrow has yet to complete a pass of more 14-plus air yards, per Next Gen Stats. His 4.2 yards per attempt average is tied for worst among 33 passers with at least 25 attempts (Bryce Young). His 6.7 air yards per attempt ranks 10th-worst.

"Best thing I do is just ask, 'Throw me a go ball.' Ask for the ball," Chase said. "That's all I can do. Control the things I can control."

As the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. After Chase did not see any deep shots through two games, it would be stunning if the Bengals (0-2) made it three straight next Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams (1-1).

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