Updated: 5:25 p.m.
There were those that felt he was off his Crocker when he felt he could still play at age 33 after his two previous seasons ended gimpy and dinged.
But Bengals safety Chris Crocker just keeps rolling. On Sunday in the 49-9 rout of the Jets, he got Paul Brown Stadium back into the game on the first snap of the second half with a pick-six of rookie quarterback Geno Smith. The 32-yard breeze down the left sideline marked his first TD return since his second season with the Browns in 2004.
"It means a lot to me. It means a lot to me to be in this locker room," Crocker said as he advised everyone to savor the moment. "People say I shouldn't be here."
But what if he wasn't? The Bengals are hoping 2012 first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick can back up Leon Hall in the slot, but with Hall out of the year again with a torn Achilles, they're sticking with Crocker most of the time.
And why not? On Sunday he made the play in the slot against the most productive Jets receiver, Jeremy Kerley. Kerley came into the game second in the NFL in third-down catches and he had just one Sunday. Smith tried to sneak a fastball past Crocker on the sideline but he read the rookie's eyes.
"I just got a good read on the route. I got my hand on it and it stuck in my glove," Crocker said. "I was glad it wasn't any longer than that."
That's because Crocker covered the kickoff and was still getting his breath.
"I was blowed," he admitted.
Later, cornerback Adam Jones would join the party with a 60-yard pick-six for his first touchdown as Adam Jones. Pacman's other return came in 2006 in another time with Tennessee. He jumped a quick out to wide receiver David Nelson early in the fourth and was gone.
"I knew (Smith) would give us one," Jones said. "I kind of read his eyes. I was looking into the backfield. They were running quick outs on me all day. I jumped one of them and I dropped it."
Jones finished it off with a rather easy cutback on Smith himself at about the 15, but it was important to him because he was thinking about what special teams coach Darrin Simmons would have said.
"I never would have heard the end of it," Jones said. "Darrin would always be on me saying, 'You let the quarterback catch you.' "
STATS: After Calvin Johnson's Megatron Day in Detroit on Sunday, guess who is 1-2 in NFL receiving yardage? Right. A.J. Green's 734 yards is second to Johnson's 821.
And only two receivers have more than Marvin Jones's seven TDs. Denver's Wes Welker (9) and Dallas' Dez Bryant (8) lead a group tied at seven, where Jones finds himself tied with Megatron himself.
*INJURY UPDATE: *Safety Taylor Mays (shoulder), who has filled in as the nickel linebacker in place of the injured Emmnauel Lamur, has been ruled out of Thursday's game (8:25 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 5, NFL Network) in Miami. Not only that, middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (concussion), who also plays nickel backer at times, didn't practice. Neither did his backup, Michael Boley (hamstring).
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) confirmed he had an MRI on Monday but he wouldn't comment about it. He did, however, suit up in sweats like everyone else and go out to the 5 p.m. walkthrough but he was listed as not participating. Looming against the backdrop of any decision on injuries is the nine-day layoff the club has after Thursday's game and before the Nov. 10 game in Baltimore.