Updated: 7:30 p.m.
Give Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis credit for taking rookie wide receiver Mohamed Sanu off the shelf on the first play of Sunday's 38-31 win in the Redskins home opener. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden had put the Wildcat bomb in the first series.
"I had it play two or three and Marvin happened to be in our meeting," Gruden said Monday. "He goes, 'Why wait until play two or three? You always wait. Put it in the first play.' I was like, fine, geez. So, ultimately it was his call and he went along with it. I'm glad he did."
Lewis was watching when A.J. Green kept catching it down the middle in practice on Friday just like he did in the game for a 73-yard touchdown and after it happened twice, Green said Lewis wanted to see it a third time.
"He threw the ball good. He was 3-for-3 in practice, so we kept it up," Gruden said. "I told him on Wednesday it was going to be the first play of the game and I think everybody kind of said, 'yeah, right. What are you nuts?' "
BABY HAWK: How great has this all been for slot receiver Andrew Hawkins? Even before he was undrafted out of Toledo and had to put his time in caddying and working in a factory to bide his time to get a shot in the CFL, he was the wide-eyed 12-year-old kid brother of Bengals rookie cornerback Artrell Hawkins and going to games at Riverfront Stadium and getting invited to practice.
But not wide-eyed enough. When his brother got an interception ball his rookie year for a pick in a 1998 win in Pittsburgh, Andrew and an older brother used it for years when they played in the backyard. The lettering chipped and wore away and when Artrell finally found out, it was not good.
"He wasn't happy about it. It was over time. We played with it for a couple of years," Hawkins said. "It's all in good fun. He understands. I didn't know any better. I was (12). I needed a football. It was the only one in the house."
Andrew has scored his first two NFL touchdowns the last two weeks and now has two decorated balls himself. He wants to give one to his parents, but …
"I owe some to my older brother," Andrew said. "Maybe I'll give it to him."
Not only does he have his own TD ball, the kid who watched the Bengals on TV when they weren't in Cincinnati or his hometown of Pittsburgh is being mentioned on TV by a Hall of Famer like Deion Sanders.
"(Andrew Hawkins) is emerging to be one of the best (slot receivers) in the game," Sanders said Sunday on NFL Network.
"I try not to check out any of the TV stuff or read articles, so I didn't catch it," said Hawkins, which is the only thing he didn't grab Sunday.
Told of the quote, Hawkins said, "I don't want to jump the gun. It's just cool that Deion Sanders knows who I am. That's enough for me."
LAST MINUTE: It turns out that the replacement officials missed two of the three calls in the final wacky minute of Sunday's game. When the Redskins suffered an injury with 1:07 and no timeouts left, there should have been a 10-second runoff. The officials properly said that the game shouldn't have ended on a false start with seven seconds left, but they spotted the unsportsmanlike penalty wrong.
According to the NFL:
"With the clock running and less than two minutes remaining in the game, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III completed a 12-yard pass to wide receiver Leonard Hankerson. Hankerson was injured on the play, and so the clock was stopped with 1:07 remaining.
Rule 4, Section 5, Article 4 (f) of the NFL Rule Book states:
"If an excess team timeout is charged against a team in possession of the ball, and time is in when the excess timeout is called, the ball shall not be put in play until the time on the game clock has been reduced by 10 seconds, if the defense so chooses."
Because Washington had used all three of its timeouts, a 10-second runoff should have been applied in this situation. The clock should have been set at 0:57 and started on the referee's ready for play signal.
With the clock running and under one minute remaining in the game, Washington spiked the ball to stop the clock. That resulted in a 3rd and 25 from the Cincinnati 34 with seven seconds remaining. The clock was stopped at this point because of the incomplete pass on the previous play, i.e. the spike. The Redskins were then penalized for a false start. Because the clock was stopped, there is no 10-second runoff in this situation. It was properly officiated.
In addition to the five-yard penalty for the false start, which would have taken the ball from the Cincinnati 34 to the Cincinnati 39, Washington was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. A penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct is 15 yards. From the Cincinnati 39, the ball should have then been spotted at the Washington 46. Instead, the ball was incorrectly spotted at the Washington 41, a difference of five yards."
CLEMENTS VALUE: How tough and valuable is Nate Clements? The Bengals desperately needed him Sunday with cornerback Leon Hall out and the Bengals moving him to safety for the first time in his 12-year career. He hurt his leg in the first quarter, left, but ended up playing 96 percent of the snaps. He was seen leaving Paul Brown Stadium in a walking boot and it's unclear how serious the injury is.
"He's very valuable, a very tough man," Lewis said. "Every football game he goes out there, every chance he gets to go out there, it means a lot to him and he takes it very seriously. He's an extension of (defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer) out there on the field, in the huddle. And once the offense breaks the huddle, he's very good that way. He's good for the guys in the meeting room all the time. He's been a great addition."
EXERCISING OPTION: The Redskins sent the Bengals defense reeling in the second half when they basically ran the option as opposed to the zone read when they gave rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III the option to pitch to a back.
"They did a nice job of using (wide receiver Brandon) Banks back in there as the pitch guy, so you put a guy with tremendous speed and you weren't sure whether you were going to get a three wide receiver set or you were going to get the option formation," Lewis said.
"So if I'm Mike Zimmer calling defense, I've got to be able to call defense defending the entire field, and our guys had to 'click in.' We didn't do a very good job of 'clicking into it' right away. The play Carlos (Dunlap) made there, everybody got all happy and giddy, but we've got to go back and do our jobs. So that's the thing that as you look at it, we had to just settle down and get to the sideline and understand what's going on and who's got what. Don't let the window dressing of the extra guy get out of sync. 'This is how we practiced it all week, based on each front and coverage and here's whose responsibility it is.' And communicate ... it takes a wear and tear on the quarterback, that's the only thing. That young guy (Robert Griffin III) got hit a bunch. Nobody's ever been able to survive that for that long."
HISTORY RECAP: The Bengals only got as far as Landover, Md., but they returned from a historic sightseeing trip to the Washington D.C. area with some monumental offensive achievements, thanks to chief engineer Jay Gruden's share-the-wealth game plan in Sunday's 38-31 victory over the Redskins that gave Cincinnati a share of the AFC North lead with Baltimore.
A recap from Elias Sports Bureau:
When wide receivers A.J. Green, Andrew Hawkins and Armon Binns caught the longest balls of their careers for touchdowns of 73, 59 and 48 yards, respectively, it marked the first game in franchise history three different players each had a touchdown catch of at least 48 yards.
It's also the first time in two straight games four Bengals receivers had at least 50 yards receiving.
Sunday's game marked the third time that four Bengals receivers had 63 yards or more in a game and the first time in nearly 34 years when wide receiver Isaac Curtis had 101, running back Archie Griffin 87, tight end Don Bass 85, and running back Pete Johnson 72 in a 34-21 loss to Oakland on Nov. 13, 1978 at Riverfront Stadium.
The first time it happened came when quarterback Ken Anderson's 447 passing yards fended off running back O.J. Simpson's 197 yards in a Monday Night showdown at Riverfront on Nov. 17, 1975 when Anderson hit Curtis for 139, wide receiver Chip Myers for 108, wide receiver Charlie Joiner for 90, and running back Boobie Clark for 64 in a 33-24 victory over the Bills.
It's also the first time quarterback Andy Dalton had back-to-back games of 300 yards and three touchdowns while posting a career-best passer rating for the second straight week at 132.9. It's the first time since the first two games last season he went back-to-back with a triple-digit passer rating.
SNAP JUDGMENTS:A look at the snaps from Sunday's game shows just how comfortable defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is playing with three cornerbacks and how much the Bengals think safety Taylor Mays helps them in the running game. Terence Newman (100 percent) and Adam Jones (96) held down the outside while cornerback Nate Clements (96) moved into safety and the slot. After getting benched last week, Mays surfaced Sunday to play 53 percent of the snaps while last week's starter, Jeromy Miles, played only three snaps.
It shows how much the defense needed help to give guys breaks up front. End Wallace Gilberry, cut by the Bucs a week ago Friday, showed up here Wednesday and played 24 percent, or 18 snaps, and had an assisted tackle. Left end Carlos Dunlap said he felt fine after taking 59 percent in his first game in six and a half weeks.
After coming off the bench to play 22 plays last week at WILL backer, rookie Vontaze Burfict got his first NFL start and played 35 percent of the time while Vincent Rey played 55 percent. Good bang for the buck. Burfict had seven tackles while Rey had four tackles and a pass defensed.
SACK TALK: The Bengals rung up six sacks Sunday for the first time since 2009, extending the longest streak in the NFL to 28 straight games with a sack. Right end Michael Johnson had a career-high three when he took advantage of left tackle Trent Williams's knee injury that drove him out of the game early and backup Jordan Black struggled early and against Johnson.