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Notes: Whit's seven-year glitch; Green expands NFL lead

Posted Nov 11, 2013

A.J. Green's tip-drill acrobatics for a 43-yard catch and his rebound off a 51-yard Hail Mary on Sunday have given him a 109-yard lead over Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson in the NFL receiving yardage race.

Updated: 9:05 p.m.

Two rare scenes in the Paul Brown Stadium locker room Monday. Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth talking about giving up multi sacks in a game for the first time since his rookie year of 2006 and the Rev. Jesse Jackson visiting with head coach Marvin Lewis.

Jackson, who visited Lewis in 2010, is in town for an event and always makes a stop at PBS when he's in Cincinnati as a big fan of both the NFL and Lewis. He also chatted with a couple of players when Lewis introduced him to tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Alex Smith and quarterback Josh Johnson.

Whitworth didn't need any introduction to Ravens rusher Elvis Dumervil, author of three sacks against him Sunday.

You have to go all the way back to Dec. 18, 2006 in a defunct dome and the Peyton Manning Colts to find the kind of bad day Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth suffered in Baltimore on Sunday.

Dumervil is a Pro Bowler himself working against Whitworth in the 20-17 overtime loss and Whitworth allowed Monday it was his first game he had allowed more than one sack in a game since Indy's Dwight Freeney got him in his rookie year for three in a Colts 34-16 victory.

There were similarities. Whitworth was working out of a double-digit deficit in one of the loudest stadium dins in the NFL against a Pro Bowl rusher with a relatively short frame (Freeney was 6-1, Dumervil 5-10) leveraging against the 6-7 Whitworth.

"It was a bad day. You move on and play great the next week," Whitworth said Monday as he reflected on the streak. "That's something to be real prideful about. That's a good thing. It sucks, but you just move on and chalk it up. If I can go another seven years without one I'll be pretty doggone happy."

Whitworth turns 32 in 31 days. He played Sunday for the first time since the knee issue that has dogged him all year took him out of the Oct. 27 Jets game, the first one he's missed since the opener. Asked if he's healthy, Whitworth shrugged.

"You're as healthy as you are when you're plus-30 and had both knees strapped on during the season," Whitworth said. "It's a tough transition. Bottom line is everybody is going to have a bad day. It wasn't as good a day as I would have liked to have had. I played really good other than three snaps in the game."

The working number is 55 passes called if you take into account quarterback Andy Dalton's four scrambles, a steep challenge against a Baltimore defense that came into the game ranked third in generating sacks per play.

"Any time you're on the road and throw it 50-some times against a team pretty good rushing the passer, they're going to have a good day," Whitworth said. "I don't know how many times he threw it, but if you include the times he scrambled it was something like (55). It happens. The truth is giving up sacks is sometimes your fault, sometimes it's the play and sometimes it's whether the ball gets out. It's going to happen. You're going to have those days, every guy has them. But the truth is only the guys that let one game affect them really does it matter. Just bounce back and move on."

That spurs one of Whitworth's pet peeves. How pass protectors and sackers are judged on different standards.

"Sometimes the D-lineman stuff gets a little overblown. The guy wins three out of 57. To me, that’s the craziest stat in the world," Whitworth said. "D-linemen can have one sack a game and you're a Hall of Famer. That means you win one out of 40 times. Whereas an O-lineman, you lose one out of 40, you're never playing in the NFL again. It's crazy. Those things can happen for whatever reason. It was a bad day. You move on and play great the next week."

As Whitworth gears up for his fourth playoff run in five seasons, he likes where the Bengals stand despite the offense's struggles the past two weeks and the inconsistent protection in Baltimore on Sunday.

"Frustrated for sure. But I'm thinking if it takes teams getting into overtime and kicking field goals to beat us, if we can continue to make teams have to do that, eventually those things go your way, too," Whitworth said. "We had a really bad day, but we were able to fight and make them have to earn every inch of it. Penalties probably didn't go our way, a couple of calls didn’t go our way and still we made teams go into overtime to beat us.

"That's the kind of fight you want out of your team. So I guess what I'm telling you, are you happy with the result? Are your frustrated? Heck yeah, but understanding this team is going to make a team go to the wire to beat us every time we step on the field, to me that's a great positive."

Another rare sight: Right guard Kevin Zeitler, who hasn't missed a start in his two seasons surfaced on crutches wearing a boot on his foot.

GREEN EXPANDS LEAD: A.J. Green's tip-drill acrobatics for a 43-yard catch and his rebound off a 51-yard Hail Mary at the end of regulation in Cincinnati's 20-17 overtime loss Sunday in Baltimore have given him a 109-yard lead over Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson in the NFL receiving yardage race as he became the first wide receiver to crack 1,000 yards this season with 1,013.

But he acknowledged after the game his offense has to get better after two straight losses it has failed to score a touchdown in the first half. The supporting cast that bucked Green up earlier in this club-record streak of five straight 100-yard games wasn't there Sunday. The next leading wide receivers, Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, had just a combined 28 yards, fewer than tight end Tyler Eifert's 55 and running back Giovani Bernard's 37, catching just four of 12 targets.

Jones, two weeks off his first 100-yard game, had just one catch for two yards despite seven targets. Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb swiped momentum as well as the ball when he simply grabbed a catch away from Jones, pulling it out of his arms at the Ravens 49. That came on the second series of the second half following the first of four Ravens punts in the half after the Bengals got on the board at 17-3.

The Bengals weren't very happy the officials picked up a flag when it appeared they were going to call a defensive penalty.

"I thought I had it. I thought it was a simultaneous (catch), but I guess that’s something I have to hold on to," Jones said.

TOUGH ROAD: The Ravens came in third in the NFL in generating sacks per pass, so just imagine how hard they are to pass block with a double-digit lead in one of the most successful home venues.

The usually solid Bengals tackles found out Sunday. Dumervil, working the left edge, was in on sacks on the last play of the third quarter and first play of the fourth and it looked like he ended the game on a sack when he worked past Whitworth on the snap before the tying Hail Mary. Whitworth, playing his first game since leaving the Oct. 27 game against the Jets with a knee issue, rarely gives up sacks but that's what can happen with big deficits and throwing 51 times against elite rushers.

"I don’t think there were any protection issues as far as responsibilities," center Kyle Cook said after the game without the benefit of seeing it on the iPad. "Maybe coverage forced some protections to break down late. It’s hard to know without watching the film."

MIX AND MATCH: With the league's best inside pass rusher out, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer replaced tackle Geno Atkins in all sorts of ways. He kept Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco at bay with some heavy fire zone blitzes. In the second half on third down, right end Michael Johnson dropped frequently with SAM linebacker James Harrison getting his first heavy work in nickel, either standing up inside or rushing from the end.

Middle linebacker Vincent Rey got his third sack of the game early in the third quarter when Johnson dropped, Harrison rushed from the edge, and safety Reggie Nelson blitzed off the edge. Ravens running back Ray Rice had to choose to pick up Nelson or Rey and picked Nelson.

 

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