Cincinnati Bengals: Ja'Marr Chase Sets Team Record With 15 Receptions
Held without a touchdown in Cincinnati's first four games, wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase broke out in a major way.
Chase caught three touchdown passes and set a franchise record with 15 receptions on Sunday during the Bengals' 34-20 victory in Arizona. It was a much-needed performance from Cincinnati's offense which is ranked 31 in the NFL through Sunday's games. The offense heated up in Arizona as quarterback Joe Burrow extended plays and moved much better than he had been earlier in the season playing on an injured calf.
Chase believes the performance could be a turning point for the Bengals (2-3), who overcame an 0-2 start last season to win the AFC North.
"We've taken a step closer to who we really are," Chase said via the Bengals’ website. "We keep facing adversity this year. It's not going to be an easy season and right now we just keep taking it step by step into next week."
On Chase's first touchdown, Burrow extended the play by moving outside the pocket which allowed his No. 1 receiver more time to get open.
"He was moving in the pocket a good bit on that play if I'm not mistaken. He looked really good from my perspective. When I saw him look at me that's when I got out of my route and he just got me the ball."
The Bengals will try to reach .500 when they host the Seahawks in Week 6.
"We definitely needed this win," Chase said. "I just want to say we're taking the right steps forward right now. Just keep pushing and moving forward."
Cleveland Browns: Did Bye Week Provide Enough Time to Fix Offense?
The Browns (2-2) had a bye in Week 5 which gave them extra time to address how their offense will operate after season-ending injuries to star running back Nick Chubb and starting right tackle Jack Conklin.
Cleveland has 10 turnovers through four games, and the offense has completed just seven passes of 20 yards or more. Without Chubb, there will be more pressure on quarterback Deshaun Watson to play more consistently after missing Week 4 against the Ravens with a shoulder injury.
General Manager Andrew Berry said fixing the Browns' offensive woes begins with cutting down on turnovers.
"The No. 1 thing that we have to do is something that (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) has preached since the day he got the job, and that's protect the football," Berry said via the Brown's website. "We've turned the ball over ten times this season and we've lost the turnover battle in all four games that we've played this year, and quite honestly, that's not a sustainable way to win football games in the NFL. So that's really the first thing that we have to get corrected."
The Browns have a tough challenge when they return to action, hosting the unbeaten 49ers (5-0) in Week 6. Via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, Watson is rehabbing diligently to be ready to play by Sunday.
"He's doing everything in his power, working around the clock with rehab," Stefanski said.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Rookie Joey Porter Jr. Could Earn Bigger Role After Huge Interception
Rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. made a huge play during Sunday's victory over the Ravens, intercepting Lamar Jackson's pass in the end zone that was intended for Odell Beckham Jr. Porter was not surprised to be tested in that situation.
"I'm the rookie out there against Odell Beckham on the third down, so I already kind of had that in the back of my mind, 'They're going to try me on this play,'" Porter said via Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com.
After making the interception, Porter went to the sidelines and handed the ball to Head Coach Mike Tomlin, who appreciates how the second-round pick has steadily improved since training camp. After playing just four snaps in the first half, Porter played regularly in the second half and finished with a career-high 28 defensive snaps.
Tomlin indicated more playing time for Porter could continue.
"Porter has been playing increasingly more with each passing week," Tomlin said. "I've been really transparent about the inclusion of all the rookies. Oftentimes we start with a good foundational plan in terms of how they participate, and we grow from there. He's done a solid job with the work given. And today he got more. He did a nice job with the work he was given today."