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Notes: Painting orange and black by the numbers; Hat trick; Tez, Andre Smith sit

Posted Dec 24, 2013

There didn't appear to be a major injury among them, but the Bengals had a bunch of players sit out Tuesday's Christmas Eve afternoon practice.


A.J. Green

Updated: 5:45 p.m.

The NFL says the Bengals are just the third team in history to score at least 40 points in four straight home games in the same season and the first in the AFC, joining the Rams' legendary "Greatest Show on Turf" in the history books.

The 1952 NFL champion Lions did it and so did the 2000 Rams, but they were beaten in the wild card game by the Saints a year after winning the Super Bowl.

And it's quite fitting that one of the artists in "The Greatest  Show" is involved this week in the remarkable A.J. Green's march into history that continues into Sunday's regular-season finale against the Ravens (1 p.m.) at Paul Brown Stadium. Green, the two-time Bengals Pro Bowl wide receiver, needs 15 more yards to pass former Ram Torry Holt for the second-most yards in history by a player in his first three NFL seasons, which would be 3,787. In 2000, the 6-0, 190-pound Holt was in his second year and led the NFL with 1,635 yards on 82 catches.

If all goes well the Bengals could end the season Sunday with the most productive individual passing and receiving seasons in Bengals history. Green needs just 76 yards to top Chad Johnson's franchise-best 1,440 yards in 2007 and quarterback Andy Dalton needs to pass for 117 yards to break Carson Palmer's record of 4,131 in the same season.

But it will have to come against a Ravens defense that has been stingy with the pair since they came into the league in 2011. Dalton has a career-high 91 passer rating going this season with a career rating of 86.4, but against the Ravens he's 65.8 with four touchdowns and six interceptions.

Green had his first monster day against Baltimore last month with a 51-yard Hail Mary that was his first touchdown against the Ravens and a spectacular 42-yard tip-and-grab on the way to 151 yards on eight catches. Since his only missed game came against Baltimore as a rookie and he played sparingly in last year's finale, that represents nearly half his catches against Baltimore (17) and more than half his yards (273).

"He's a great receiver, love his game," Green said of Holt before Tuesday's practice. "He's more of a Jerry Rice-type. He catches every ball, runs great routes."

The 6-4, 210-pound Green won't catch third-year leader Randy Moss with 4,163, but he compares his body type and style of game to a combination of Moss and Rice. He also couldn't care less about stats. He says he has no idea how many yards he has (try 1,365, fourth in the NFL) and says he has "90-something" catches. That would be 94, putting him six away from becoming the third Bengal in history with 100 catches, joining T.J. Houshmandzadeh with 112 in 2007 and Carl Pickens with 100 in 1996. Don’t ask Green about 100 and if he'd like to stay in the game and get it.

"That would be good, we’ll see," he said. "It doesn't matter to me as long as we win."

So Green doesn't know that he needs 76 yards to pass Johnson, which falls into his range of 91 yards per game.

"The goals are good, but we're fighting for a bigger picture," said Green, who, frankly, would rather eat lunch than listen to his milestones. "When I'm done with this game, maybe it will (mean something), but right now I'm trying to continue to get better.

"I've got a lot of football left,  so we'll see after I'm done with all this and I reflect on my career."

Dalton, who needs just two touchdown passes to set the franchise record with 33, reflected a tad Tuesday.

"It shows what we've been able to accomplish this year. I think that only happens if we've been winning games and doing some good things," Dalton said. "Personally, it's cool to be close to those records, but like you said, wins are what ultimately matters.”

But, like Green, he doesn't have time to reflect.

"I'm going to go eat lunch," Green said after patiently answering the stat questions.

INJURY UPDATE: There didn't appear to be a major injury among them, but the Bengals had a bunch of players sit out Tuesday's Christmas Eve afternoon practice on the Paul Brown Stadium turf.

WILL backer Vontaze Burfict and tight end Alex Smith were still apparently going through the NFL's concussion protocol, but SAM backer James Harrison, after sitting out last Sunday's game with a concussion, was on the field. Right tackle Andre Smith (ankle), who said after the game he'd play in Sunday's game against the Ravens at PBS (1 p.m.), didn't work. Neither did Tyler Eifert (shoulder) after he left last Sunday's game early with a stinger. Tight end Jermaine Gresham, linebacker Vinny Rey and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who played most of the game against the Vikings, didn't work with unknown ailments.

There was no injury report on Tuesday even though both teams practiced and are off Wednesday. But an injury report is going to be issued with the approximation of the player's status if there had been practice.

HAT TRICK: And Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis made it clear the Bengals are trying to win so they can at least have a shot at the second seed when the Patriots host Buffalo at 4:25 p.m.: "We'll do everything to win the game … full go."

The only AFC North Division championship hats at PBS appeared to be at the Bengals Pro Shop because they weren't visible in the locker room during Tuesday's media availability.

Lewis reiterated his disdain for such an article, saying at his news conference, "There are two bigger hats," referring to the AFC title and the Super Bowl championship. Lewis's message has been heard loud and clear. Left guard Andrew Whitworth said he had heard no one bring it up during the club's first gathering since the Bengals won the title three-and-a-half hours after their win over the Vikings.

"No comment," a smiling Lewis said when asked if he is storing the hats.

But here is what he did a few hours later. When the players came back in from practice Tuesday, the hats were sitting on their chairs in front of their lockers, Some players tweeted out pictures, but Lewis made it clear they better collect them because he didn't want any hanging around.

Translation: Two bigger hats.

HOUSE CALL: Candid Adam Jones, recounting why the Bengals are going hard despite having a playoff spot secured, doesn't want to see the Ravens make it.

"We want to defend home and make sure we win," Jones said. "If it was my choice, I don’t want Baltimore to make it. We’ve got to make sure we defend the house and play all four quarters.”

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