Ja’Marr Chase keeps up Chiefs barbs during, after Bengals loss

CINCINNATI — Ja’Marr Chase ensured Sunday that his feud with Kansas City will stay ablaze.

During and after Cincinnati‘s 25-17 loss to the Chiefs that eliminated the Bengals from playoff contention, Chase continued to deliver barbs aimed at the Kansas City defense.

In the second quarter, Chase was whistled for unnecessary roughness after he and Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed engaged in a shoving match after a play.

Then after the game, Chase took credit for sparking the battle with Cincinnati’s AFC rival.

“I started it off,” Chase said. “Their whole defense was mad at me. It started at the beginning of the game. You’ve seen it. Everybody’s seen it. That’s just what I like to do.”

Said Chase of his battle with Sneed: “I just be under people’s skin sometimes. Motherf—er won’t fight me.”

Chase finished the game with 3 catches for 41 yards. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, he was lined up against Sneed for 61.8% of his routes.

Chase played Sunday after missing one game with a right shoulder injury he suffered in Cincinnati’s Week 15 overtime win against Pittsburgh. The Bengals’ star receiver was limited in practice throughout the week. But as the team boarded the plane for Kansas City on Saturday, Chase said he told coach Zac Taylor he wanted to play in order to keep Cincinnati’s postseason hopes alive.

“Game on the line, season on the line,” Chase said of his decision to play. “Just providing.”

He estimated that he was 70% healthy. Because of his limited capacity, he said he did not have his usual role in the team’s weekly game plan.

That changed when wide receiver Tee Higgins suffered a left hamstring injury on his first catch of the game. Higgins said he reaggravated the injury that forced him to miss three games earlier this season. Higgins left the game in the first half but returned knowing the Bengals (8-8) needed to win to stay in the playoff race entering next week’s regular-season finale against Cleveland.

Chase’s willingness to play against Kansas City (10-6) came on the heels of his midweek comments about its defense.

On Thursday, Chase added “fire to the fuel” in the longstanding battle between the two teams that have played for the AFC championship each of the past two seasons. When asked about Kansas City’s secondary, Chase said the reigning Super Bowl champions didn’t have any superstars on defense.

On Sunday, he said the Chiefs’ defense covered him as he expected — with a lot of extra attention focused on stopping him and Higgins.

“The only thing I (saw) Sneed do was looking at the safety to check into cloud (coverage) or double-(team),” Chase said. “That’s just what they do.”

The Bengals led 17-13 at halftime but were held scoreless for the entire second half. Cincinnati’s best scoring chance came on its first drive of the third quarter, when the Bengals attempted a fourth-and-1 at Kansas City’s 6-yard line. The Chiefs overwhelmed the Bengals at the line of scrimmage and stopped running back Joe Mixon for a 3-yard loss.

Chase said he wished the Bengals had kicked a field goal to take a 20-13 lead at that point in the game. Taylor said he felt the team needed to go for it in that situation. Regardless, Cincinnati’s offense sputtered the rest of the way.

“Just struggled to get some rhythm, however many series we had after that,” Taylor said. “Just got to give credit to them.”

But Chase was only going to give Kansas City so many props after Sunday’s win.

“They got a good (defensive) front,” Chase said. “That’s it.”

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