Quick hits: Lewis thinks Green OK; Jets lead tiebreakers

Posted Dec 18, 2011

A.J. Green

» A.J. Green, who became the first NFL rookie receiver with a 1,000-yard season since Marques Colston in 2006, left the locker room with his right arm in a sling and ice on his shoulder, and all indications are he will be able to play Saturday against the Cardinals at Paul Brown Stadium.

"I think he'll be OK," head coach Marvin Lewis said.

Green returned after injuring his shoulder late in the first half and finished a 115-yard day that leaves him four yards shy of setting a Bengals rookie record. He has 1,006 yards on 61 catches.

» The Bengals and Jets are tied for that last AFC Wild Card spot at 8-6 overall and 6-5 in the AFC. But if they finish tied, says the Jets still hold the tiebreakers based on best winning percentage in common games. Plus, the Jets have a higher strength of victory percentage at .396-.304.

» With 15-of-26 passing for 179 yards, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton saw his streak of 10 straight games with a touchdown pass snapped, but he won his eighth game as the Bengals won at least half their games for the sixth time in Lewis's nine seasons. With 3,012 yards, Dalton became one of five rookie quarterbacks since the NFL merger with more than 3,000 yards passing.

"I'm blessed to have a quarterback like Andy," Green said. "They don't come around all that often. He's one of a kind."

» Green is also showing he's one of a kind. He took a cortisone shot in the shoulder at halftime and set the Bengals rookie record with his fourth 100-yard game. He went into the X-ray room after the game, but says it's like a separation he had in his left AC joint duirng college.

"The collarbone didn't hurt. It felt like when I did it the first time," he said.

It is believed to be the most severe grade of a separation (three out of three), but they typically don't require surgery and a few years ago former Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco played with the same grade of separation.

» The game was clearly decided on wide receiver Brandon Tate's 56-yard punt return late in the third quarter that set up running back Bernard Scott's one-yard touchdown run that broke a 6-6 tie.

"He definitely gets the game ball," linebacker Brandon Johnson said of Tate after he had blocked on Tate's longest return of the season. "I think this time it was more him than the blocking."

"That was the play that really gave us energy," defensive tackle Domata Peko said. "It was kind of a funny atmosphere. You needed to generate your own energy and we didn't have any until that play."

» The defense played energized all day. It marked the fewest points the Bengals defense had given up all year, tying the 13 it gave up in the 13-8 loss to San Francisco 12 games ago.

"We wanted to stop Steven Jackson," safety Chris Crocker said. And the Bengals kept the Rams running back in check with 71 yards on 18 carries on 3.9 yards per carry. Jackson had come into the game averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

"A lot of times when you get a new quarterback teams try to do all kinds of things to confuse him but sometimes that can hurt you," Crocker said. "We played it simple. Our main focus was to stop Jackson and to let the rest take care of itself."

» The Bengals committed a season-high 11 penalties.

"Those are the two things that really bothered me," Lewis said. "With the penalties and the inability to get the first down to get a yard at the end of the half," when the Bengals got stuffed on third-and-one and fourth-and-one.

» Left tackle Andrew Whitworth thought the key drive was the first drive of the second half that resulted in Mike Nugent's tying 41-yard field goal.

"It was big," Whitworth said, "to score when you say you want to score at the beginning of the half to get the momentum."

» Rookie wide receiver Ryan Whalen converted the first third down of that drive on a seven-yard throw to the sideline for his first NFL catch.

It was the second time Whalen had been active this year. Lewis said wide receiver Andre Caldwell was inactive because he was felt he was banged up and fighting through injuries he needed to rest for the last two games.

» When running back Cedric Benson was stuffed on third-and-one that set up Nugent's field goal, it was the third time Sunday that Benson was stopped on third-and-one or fourth-and-one.

"I think we've taken the running game for granted," Benson said. "Just kind of assuming its gong to work and be successful.

Benson on the short yardage: "They wanted it more than we did."

» With another sack Sunday, defensive tackle Geno Atkins jacked his team-leading sack total to eight. That ties him with Dan Wilkinson for most sacks by a Bengals defensive tackle in a season. Wilkinson did it in 1995.

» With 71 yards, Tate set a Bengals single-season punt return yardage record with 496, breaking Quan Cosby's 2009 mark (474).

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