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Notes: less is more for O; Sherman unknowingly taught Dre; Nugent upbeat; Tate plays to whistle

WR A.J. Green greets QB Andy Dalton during the 2015 Season.
WR A.J. Green greets QB Andy Dalton during the 2015 Season.

Less is more for the Green-Dalton Bengals.

After torching the Chiefs for 321 yards on 71 percent passing, Dalton closed the gap with Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers for the NFL passing lead to 2.9 percentage points despite tied for 22nd for the most pass attempts.

Averaging 10.2 yards per throw (second in the NFL behind the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger), tied for third in yards (1,187) and tied for third in touchdown passes (nine), Dalton has a 123 passer rating and is on pace to throw a career low 464 passes.

Cincinnati Bengals host the Kansas City Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium week 4 of the regular season.

He's also on pace to break a slew of club records with the main numbers projecting to 36 TDs and 4,748 yards, which would break his 2013 club records.

And the amount of passes haven't stopped from leading the NFL in the two money categories, passing on third down and in the fourth quarter.

Green is on pace for a career-high 100 catches, but his 25 are tied for 12th in the NFL. Yet his 417 yards are behind only Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown, Atlanta's Julio Jones, and Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald. And Green leads everybody with at least 20 catches with 16.7 yards per catch. . . .

Kevin Huber's 67-yard punt on Sunday vaulted him to third in the NFL . . .

Here's the balance on third down. Green and tight end Tyler Eifert are the club leaders with five each and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and Giovani Bernard have three each. . .

Eifert is fifth among AFC tight ends with 222 receiving yards, but his year-long projection to 888 would be 22 yards shy of tying Dan Ross' 1981 club record for tight ends with 910. . .

DRE LEARNS FROM SHERMAN: There are a few pockets of Bengals set to gather and socialize while watching Seattle host the Lions Monday night since the Seahawks are the next opponent Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) at sold-out Paul Brown Stadium.

But cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has already seen Seattle plenty on the screen. On Monday he said that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman taught him leverage even though the NFL's self-described best cornerback in the game has never worked with Kirkpatrick.

"He's smart, very smart. He taught me leverage. He probably doesn't know what that means," Kirkpatrick said. "No, I never worked with him. I just watch him. I study him. I want what he's got. It's still competition; it's the great game of football."

Kirkpatrick, a first-rounder from 2012, came out a year after Sherman was drafted in the fifth round. He knows the adrenaline is going to be pumping.

"I want to be the best corner on the field. I'm pretty sure every game he wants to be the best corner in that game," Kirkpatrick said. "When you're out there playing against the best, quote unquote, it's going to elevate your game."

Kirkpatrick puts quotes around it because someone else said Sherman is the best corner in NFL

"That's what the media says," Kirkpatrick said. "I don't feel like that. I think he should be in the conversation. I like Richard Sherman. He talks a lot. He's a little different than me. I'm more about action."

Asked if there's anybody on the Bengals that should be in the conversation, Kirkpatrick laughed and called his number and that of his fellow starting corner Adam Jones.

"Two-seven and two-four," Kirkpatrick said. "We just have to keep playing. Of course, you're going to think about it. Of course you're going to talk to each other about it."

The 4-0 Bengals find themselves playing another potential playoff team and it is the mother of all playoff teams, a Seattle club that should have won the last two Super Bowls and did win one of them in a rout.

"That's why I was telling Adam, 'I know you're anxious,'" Kirkpatrick said of their sideline conversation on Sunday after Jones left the game in the second half with an injured groin and elbow.

" 'Rest up. Heal. Don't try to do anything extra.' I just talked to him today about it because, 'We're going to need you Sunday.' He's already trying to stretch on it and run on it. 'Take your time. Let's get you healed because the expectation is going to be high, but its still football.'"

NUGENT UPBEAT: The carnage began on Thursday night when Josh Scobee missed two fourth-quarter field goals and less than 24 hours after it cost Pittsburgh in Baltimore, he was a former Steeler.

The Jags' Jason Meyer missed one late and one in overtime to doom Jacksonville. And poor Zach Hocker blew a 30-yard field goal in New Orleans that spoiled one of Drew Brees' greatest drives, only to be rescued by Brees' 400th career TD pass in overtime.

But then again, Robbie Gould kicked a 49-yarder with time almost gone to lift the Bears over the Raiders and Chargers rookie Josh Lambo crushed Cleveland with a 39-yarder with seconds left after he got a chance to atone his miss because of an offsides call.

And then there was Cairo Santos' seven field goals for the Chiefs  against the Bengals in a performance his opposite number said was the best he's seen in his 11 NFL seasons.

"That was the best game I ever witnessed,' said Mike Nugent  on Monday. "And I don't mean to dismiss kickoffs either because he had three kickoffs that went through the uprights. He just had fantastic day. The other (good)  side is happening, too. The two 51s were into the wind. Hats off to him. It's a different story if they're all 20-yarders, but the guy was hitting them from everywhere all day and supporting it with kickoffs."

In addition to the pair of 51-yard field goals, Santos made two 40-yarders to go with a 24-yarder, 29-yarder, and 22-yarder. Compare that to Shayne Graham's Bengals record seven field goals on Nov. 11, 2007 in Baltimore when his longest was a pair of 35 yarders.

So Nugent's point is it's not as bad as it looks and the reason it looks so bad is because it is the biggest ones that aren't going through. And, he says, it has nothing to do with the new longer 33-yard extra point.

ESPN's Kevin Seifert has stats that back up Nugent. Through Week Three kickers were hitting 84.9 percent of all field goal attempts compared to 84.7 last season and better than 2013 when it was 82.4. And, yes, there were 14 missed field goals and four missed extra points in Week Four. But you only have to go back six weeks, Week 15 last year, to find more missed field goals in an NFL  week.

Meanwhile, kickers have converted 94 percent of extra points under the league's new PAT rule. Nugent has had one PAT blocked and missed two of his three field-goal tries at home while hitting his one try on the road. The 3-5 start seems pretty benign compared to the 6-for-10 start he had last season that reached 11-for-17 when missed an OT winner from 36 yards, also at home. Which, by the way, was on Oct. 12. But he hit his next 15, missed from 50 which everyone does in Pittsburgh, and then kicked the longest field goal of his career, 57 yards, in the playoffs.

On Sunday, he hit the left upright from 44 yards to go along with his 36-yard miss two weeks ago.

"If you're hitting a chip from 100 yards out, you want a nice little scuff on the ground and I didn't get any ground," Nugent said. "It was one of those double breakers It was one of those days I couldn't have gotten away with a make … it just didn't feel right  and it's going to be completely worthless if I don't learn anything from it . . .You're only as good as your ext kick and you move on from there."

The Bengals are certainly cutting down on Nugent's tries. After four games last season he had 13 tries. But the Bengals lead the NFL with 20 red-zone possessions and have converted 80 percent for TDs, good for ninth in the league.


Happy 28th birthday Brandon Tate.

TATE PLAYS TO WHISTLE: If there's ever an example of playing to the whistle, Bengals backup wide receiver Brandon Tate provided two shining cases on his first snap of the season Sunday.

Tate, a seven-year veteran a day  shy of his 28th birthday, lined up split to the right early in the third quarter on third-and-11. Usually Tate rotates with Adam Jones returning punts and kicks, but here he was giving Marvin Jones a breather after Jones had a bomb pop off his shoulder pad and he committed false start.

First example: Tate ran an out route, but looked behind him and saw quarterback Andy Dalton scrambling his way.

"I ran my route, but the play was being extended. Andy was  rolling out, so I just stuck him and went up," said Tate of putting his foot in the ground to run vertically down the sideline past cornerback Marcus Peters.  "It was a good play by (Dalton). He trusted  me and I just kept playing to the whistle. You only get so many chances in this league."

Then Tate made a tremendous diving catch, one of those all-out, fingertip grabs that boggle the mind how he held on when he hit the ground. Tate, who played at North Carolina, remembers making a diving catch against James Madison and during his two years in New England he made a diving catch for a TD for the Patriots.

"This was No. 1," Tate said. "The score was 12-14 and it was getting close and that was a big one for us."

Second example: Tate never hesitated and got up off the ground at the Chiefs 8, diving in to the end zone to complete a 55-yard TD, his longest catch in 68 games as a Bengal and second longest of his career. Not bad for the season's first snap.

"One and done," Tate joked.

But it wasn't. He didn't hear the whistle.

"Even if I was tagged, I was going to get up and go. You never know in this league, Tate said. "I didn't hear a whistle. You have to finish the play."

On Sunday, wide receiver A.J. Green called Tate, "The ultimate pro." Here's why. "I have to credit my teammates for blocking for the quarterback," and "Now it's on to Seattle," he said.

But Tate did take time with his two sons, Brandon, 10, and Michael, 5, to watch it on the highlights Sunday night. Presumably their two-month-old sister was sleeping.

"They loved it,' Tate said. "I heard from family, friends and its great because (Monday) is my birthday. It was a great weekend."

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