Cincinnati Bengals’ Tee Higgins ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans
Wide receiver’s absence leaves Bengals with a void in their offense
CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bengals will be without wide receiver Tee Higgins for their upcoming game against the Houston Texans, according to head coach Zac Taylor. Higgins suffered a hamstring injury during Wednesday’s practice and did not participate for the rest of the week. His absence will be a significant blow to the Bengals’ offense, as Higgins has been a key contributor this season.
During Thursday’s practice, Higgins was seen watching his fellow wide receivers during individual drills but was not present during the media viewing window on Friday. Coach Taylor did not provide any details about Higgins’ long-term availability, especially with a crucial AFC North contest against the Baltimore Ravens scheduled for next Thursday.
“I don’t really care about next week right now,” Taylor said. “He’s not going to play this week.”
In addition to Higgins, the Bengals will also be missing defensive end Sam Hubbard, who suffered an ankle injury in Week 9 against the Buffalo Bills. Taylor mentioned that Cam Sample, Joseph Ossai, and rookie Cam Sample will receive additional playing time in Hubbard’s absence.
On a more positive note, there is a chance that wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase will be able to play against the Texans. Chase missed Wednesday’s practice due to a back injury but was limited in Thursday’s session. He was spotted again during the open period of Friday’s practice, indicating progress in his recovery.
Chase is currently listed as questionable on the team’s injury report, and Taylor stated, “We’ll see.” However, the coach expressed satisfaction with Chase’s performance during Friday’s practice, suggesting that the rookie wide receiver may be ready to take the field on Sunday.
The Bengals (5-3) are aiming for their fifth consecutive victory after a slow start to the season. Since Week 5, Cincinnati’s receivers have led the NFL in receiving yards per game, averaging an impressive 223.5 yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Quarterback Joe Burrow has also been in top form, ranking third in Total QBR during that same span.
Tyler Boyd, the longest-tenured player on the Bengals’ roster, praised Burrow and the coaching staff for their ability to seamlessly interchange receivers. Boyd emphasized that as long as the receivers execute their assignments correctly, Burrow can work effectively with any player on the field.
Trenton Irwin, who stepped in for Higgins during his previous hamstring injury in 2022, has emerged as one of Cincinnati’s top reserves at the wide receiver position. Irwin’s standout performance this season came in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals, where he caught a career-high eight passes for 60 yards.
Irwin emphasized the importance of thorough preparation and building a strong rapport with Burrow for players who are called upon due to injuries.
“Joe has to be able to trust that the people know what they’re going to do, where we need to be,” Irwin said. “In order for that to happen, you have to communicate, but you also have to be ready for everything.”