Green ejected as Jags toss Bengals

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JACKSONVILLE - The Bengals lost their best player at the end of the first half Sunday when wide receiver A.J. Green was ejected after a fight with Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey  and lost the game when they couldn't re-group in the second half during an ugly 23-7 loss that dropped them to 3-5.

After a third quarter they were called for five penalties that included their third 15-yarder for conduct and one first down, the Bengals gave up an untouched 63-yard punt return touchdown to wide receiver Jaydon Mickens with four missed tackles on the second play of the fourth quarter to make it 23-7 and that would be it with the Jags holding the ball for 40:14 and 407 yards.

The Bengals could muster just a season-low 148 yards as Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton had no chance in the second half without Green and under extreme pressure from the NFL's most productive pass rush. He was sacked twice and chased out of the pocket numerous times while his line had been called for three penalties in the third quarter. He able to get off only 18 passes for 10 completions and 136 yards.

 Rookie running back Joe Mixon had 31 yards on first 13 carries and the Jags just teed off on monstrous time of possession in the fourth quarter. Jags quarterback Blake Bortles looked supreme being asked to hit short flings on 24 of 38 for 259 yards and winning the game with an astounding 67 percent on 18 third downs.

Green and Ramsey had been going at it all game and the mellow  Green who prides himself on his cool, apparently had enough. He had been held to one catch for six yards on two targets as the Bengals were running out the clock with a handoff to rookie running back Joe Mixon.

 After the first run, Green ran down field, touched Ramsey on the arm, turned his back to Ramsey, and Ramsey shoved him in the back with both hands. Green spun around, put Ramsey in a headlock and began throwing punches even as they went down on the ground.

After the two were separated, Green threw down his helmet and motioned to his arm. Then Bengals head coach  Marvin Lewis walked him away and wide receivers coach James Urban walked him into the locker room.

The Bengals dared Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles to beat them and he did when he staked the Jags to the lead at halftime. Bortles dinked and dunked and continually found wide open receivers converting nine of 11 third downs. Then for the fourth time in the last three games, the foe hit a field goal in the last 1:50 of the half when Josh Lambro drilled a 56-yarder with 23 seconds left to set up the histrionics.

The Jags hogged the ball for 21:27 of the half and 43 plays and the Bengals could manage just 17 plays.  Dalton managed just five of seven passes for 93 yards and Mixon had just 25 yards on eight carries for a grand total of 118 yards.

The Jags took a 10-0 lead on a torturous 15-play, 7:55  drive that featured four third-down conversions  of four yards or less and they were open and available. They all came on short, quick throws, just like the touchdown. That was on third-and-three and wide receiver Marquise Lee, lined up split opposite cornerback Adam Jones. Lee crossed with the slot receiver to catch a three-yard TD with 6:57 left in the half.

When the Bengals got the ball back the Jags had already run 24 plays and the Bengals just 10, but they cut the lead to 10-7 with 4:13 left in the half when tight end Tyler Kroft spun away from a tackle after making a 10-yard catch over the middle and turned it into a 59-yard play for the longest play of his career. That set up Mixon's 10-yard run-and-catch out of the backfield and then he scored the touchdown when he  swept the right side, got a block from Green and dove on the pylon for a seven-yard run.

Meanwhile right tackle Jake Fisher left with an illness early in the second quarter and went to the hospital tgo be replaced by Andre Smith.  It was Smith who was  called for an unsportsman-like conduct after Mixon's TD run on a flag that helped set up the late field goal.

Bortles hit his first six passes and converted his first three third downs when the Jags consumed the clock to take a 3-0 lead with 2:36 left in the quarter on Josh Lambo's 33-yard field goal.

He got a huge helping hand on third-and-12 when rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole was wide open and still had to make a one-handed catch down the middle for a 17-yard gain at the Bengals 27. Moments later Bortles escaped an even more disastrous throw to Cole on third-and-seven because the ball was tipped, but Bengals safety Shawn Williams couldn't make the catch on the goal line to set up the field goal.

On their second series Dalton got a third-and-long conversion over the middle to rookie wide receiver Josh Malone. But when Green got open on a go route past Jags cornerback Jalen Ramsey on first down, Dalton couldn't keep the ball on the field and Green caught it out-of-bounds.

That's the danger of throwing on first down against the team with the most sacks in the NFL. Mixon, having more trouble running against the league's last-ranked rush defense than the Steelers,  got nothing on second down and when Dalton had scramble out of the pocket Green had to come back for a catch short of the first down on a play Ramsey shoved Green out of bounds.

Bengals defensive tackle Chris Smith had to come home to stop their NFL-record 18-game streak without a fumble recovery and it came in the nick of time just as the Jags seamlessly marched to the 20 on the game's first drive.

The Bengals gave up a third-and-six for a first down in the drive on a wide-open ball to Lee for 19 yards before Smith caused the fumbled and it was recovered by Shawn Williams at the Bengals 25 just 5:40 into the game.

Also open for wide-open catches were tight end Marcedes Lewis (37 yards), Cole (28 yards), and running back Chris Ivory (29) as Bortles went 18 for 27 for 195 yards. Before the game, the Bengals would have loved it if Bortles had thrown it 27 times all game, but that's not the way it panned out.

Mixon drew his first NFL start but fellow rookie running back Leonard Fournette didn't get the call when the Jaguars benched him for breaking a team rule.

Fournette rampaged through the NFL in his first six games and was coming off two where he went for 311 yards. But the Bengals still have to deal with running backs T.J. Yeldon and Ivory after they've established themselves in the NFL's top-ranked running game. Yeldon went off for 127 yards on nine carries two weeks ago in the win in Indianapolis that Fournette missed with an ankle injury and Ivory is a proven eight-year veteran for the Jags. Ivory had 40 yards on nine carries and Yeldon five yards on four carries at the half.

The Bengals are at the other end of the spectrum ranked 30th in rushing and have struggled to get Mixon going. According to published reports, a total of 50 running backs have at least 44 carries and with his 3.0 yards per carry average Mixon is one of four of them that have averaged three yards or less with Carolina's Jonathan Stewart, Arizona's Chris Johnson, and Washington's Samaje Perine.

The numbers help the Bengals here since the Jags are ranked last against the rush. But the Bengals won't be allowed to smash them in a tandem. Jeremy Hill, who has started games and second halves but has yielded to Mixon in carries, was a surprise scratch with an ankle injury when he surfaced on the inactive list 90 minutes before the game.

JACKSONVILLE - The Bengals lost their best player at the end of the first half Sunday when wide receiver A.J. Green was ejected after a fight with Jalen Ramsey that also saw the Jaguars cornerback ejected in a wild last minute as the Jags took a 13-7 half-time lead. The Jaguars continued that lead to close the game with 23-7 victory over the Bengals.

The two had been going at it all game and the mellow  Green who prides himself on his cool, apparently had enough. He had been held to one catch for six yards on two targets as the Bengals were running out the clock with a handoff to rookie running back Joe Mixon.

 After the first run, Green ran down field, touched Ramsey on the arm, turned his back to Ramsey, and Ramsey shoved him in the back with both hands. Green spun around, put Ramsey in a headlock and began throwing punches even as they went down on the ground.

After the two were separated, Green threw down his helmet and motioned to his arm. Then Bengals head coach  Marvin Lewis walked him away and wide receivers coach James Urban walked him into the locker room.

The Bengals dared Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles to beat them and he did when he staked the Jags to the lead at halftime. Bortles dinked and dunked and continually found wide open receivers converting nine of 11 third downs. Then for the fourth time in the last three games, the foe hit a field goal in the last 1:50 of the half when Josh Lambro drilled a 56-yarder with 23 seconds left to set up the histrionics.

The Jags hogged the ball for 21:27 of the half and 43 plays and the Bengals could manage just 17 plays. Quarterback Andy Dalton managed just five of seven passes for 93 yards and Mixon had just 25 yards on eight carries for a grand total of 118 yards.

The Jags took a 10-0 lead on a torturous 15-play, 7:55  drive that featured four third-down conversions  of four yards or less and they were open and available. They all came on short, quick throws, just like the touchdown. That was on third-and-three and wide receiver Marquise Lee, lined up split opposite cornerback Adam Jones. Lee crossed with the slot receiver to catch a three-yard TD with 6:57 left in the half.

When the Bengals got the ball back the Jags had already run 24 plays and the Bengals just 10, but they cut the lead to 10-7 with 4:13 left in the half when tight end Tyler Kroft spun away from a tackle after making a 10-yard catch over the middle and turned it into a 59-yard play for the longest play of his career. That set up Mixon's 10-yard run-and-catch out of the backfield and then he scored the touchdown when he  swept the right side, got a block from Green and dove on the pylon for a seven-yard run.

Meanwhile right tackle Jake Fisher left with an illness early in the second quarter and went to the hospital tgo be replaced by Andre Smith.  It was Smith who was  called for an unsportsman-like conduct after Mixon's TD run on a flag that helped set up the late field goal.

Bortles hit his first six passes and converted his first three third downs when the Jags consumed the clock to take a 3-0 lead with 2:36 left in the quarter on Josh Lambo's 33-yard field goal.

He got a huge helping hand on third-and-12 when rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole was wide open and still had to make a one-handed catch down the middle for a 17-yard gain at the Bengals 27. Moments later Bortles escaped an even more disastrous throw to Cole on third-and-seven because the ball was tipped, but Bengals safety Shawn Williams couldn't make the catch on the goal line to set up the field goal.

On their second series Dalton got a third-and-long conversion over the middle to rookie wide receiver Josh Malone. But when Green got open on a go route past Jags cornerback Jalen Ramsey on first down, Dalton couldn't keep the ball on the field and Green caught it out-of-bounds.

That's the danger of throwing on first down against the team with the most sacks in the NFL. Mixon, having more trouble running against the league's last-ranked rush defense than the Steelers,  got nothing on second down and when Dalton had scramble out of the pocket Green had to come back for a catch short of the first down on a play Ramsey shoved Green out of bounds.

Bengals defensive tackle Chris Smith had to come home to stop their NFL-record 18-game streak without a fumble recovery and it came in the nick of time just as the Jags seamlessly marched to the 20 on the game's first drive.

The Bengals gave up a third-and-six for a first down in the drive on a wide-open ball to Lee for 19 yards before Smith caused the fumbled and it was recovered by Shawn Williams at the Bengals 25 just 5:40 into the game.

Also open for wide-open catches were tight end Marcedes Lewis (37 yards), Cole (28 yards), and running back Chris Ivory (29) as Bortles went 18 for 27 for 195 yards. Before the game, the Bengals would have loved it if Bortles had thrown it 27 times all game, but that's not the way it panned out.

Mixon drew his first NFL start but fellow rookie running back Leonard Fournette didn't get the call when the Jaguars benched him for breaking a team rule.

Fournette rampaged through the NFL in his first six games and was coming off two where he went for 311 yards. But the Bengals still have to deal with running backs T.J. Yeldon and Ivory after they've established themselves in the NFL's top-ranked running game. Yeldon went off for 127 yards on nine carries two weeks ago in the win in Indianapolis that Fournette missed with an ankle injury and Ivory is a proven eight-year veteran for the Jags. Ivory had 40 yards on nine carries and Yeldon five yards on four carries at the half.

The Bengals are at the other end of the spectrum ranked 30th in rushing and have struggled to get Mixon going. According to published reports, a total of 50 running backs have at least 44 carries and with his 3.0 yards per carry average Mixon is one of four of them that have averaged three yards or less with Carolina's Jonathan Stewart, Arizona's Chris Johnson, and Washington's Samaje Perine.

The numbers help the Bengals here since the Jags are ranked last against the rush. But the Bengals won't be allowed to smash them in a tandem. Jeremy Hill, who has started games and second halves but has yielded to Mixon in carries, was a surprise scratch with an ankle injury when he surfaced on the inactive list 90 minutes before the game.

Cincinnati Bengals take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 9 of the regular season.

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