Called Out: Week 3 Bengals at Redskins

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September 23, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) runs the ball on a reverse against the Washington Redskins during the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

A.J. Green

Green was just simply unstoppable on Sunday. He proved once again why he is one of the league’s most feared wide receivers. Amassing 183 receiving yards and a score, the Redskins defense had no answer for this receiver. There was a headline in the Washington Examiner on Monday morning under a picture of Green claiming that Green was simply un-coverable. Green practically caught everything that was thrown his way and didn’t let his quarterback down. He made plays with his feet as he had plenty of yards after the catch. It is still early in Green’s career, but he is already proving that opposing teams will need to game plan for his each and every week.

Andrew Hawkins

Hawkins had yet another solid game. He has been in each edition of these articles, and they have all been positive. Hawkins is so dangerous in space and can create mismatches so easily, that defenses have to account for him at all times and this allows other receivers to get open. When Hawkins is not accounted for, he will make teams pay by catching a short pass and getting in space where he is most dangerous. He has turned a short route into a 50+ yard gain in each of the last two games now. This kind of vision and elusiveness simply can not be taught, either you have it or you don’t. Hawkins has it.

Offensive Line

The offensive line of the Bengals has grown up over the past couple of games. This was most definitely their best pass protecting game of the season thus far. It showed because Dalton had a good amount of time to throw the football all game long and it added up to 328 yards through the air. Only a handful of times did the line allow pressure to get to Dalton and on one occasion it caused an interception in the Bengals own end zone as Dalton was hit from behind as he threw the football. Unfortunately for the line, the same can not be said about the run blocking. On very few occasions did they allow any kind of holes to open up for running backs BenJarvus Green-Ellis (who had his first fumble of his career on Sunday) and Bernard Scott. When the Bengals tried to switch gears and run a couple of pitch plays to the shifty Scott, he line could not get to the outside fast enough and each time, Scott was brought down for a loss. This should get better as the season progresses and the line starts to gel, but this is a small cause for concern at the moment, because the Bengals offense can not afford to be one-dimensional as they were on Sunday.

Brandon Tate

Tate is not being called out for his role as a receiver (even though his role there is small with Armon Binns getting most snaps at the second receiver position). He is on this list for his returning abilities (or lack there of). Especially on punt returns, Tate seems to have a very difficult time making decisions. He will wait very late to call a fair catch and sometimes will try to make a play with gunners right in his face. He will make a costly mistake one day and get hit quickly which will generally result in a fumble. Luckily, that hasn’t happened yet. When he does return the punt, he does not go up the field immediately, instead, he is seen dancing around in one spot trying to wait for a hole to open up. When it doesn’t, he is generally tackled for no gain or a very short one. His abilities as a kick returner far surpass those as a punt returner and it may be a good idea for the Bengals to give Adam Jones or Andrew Hawkins more reps returning punts.

All in all, it was a good day for Cincinnati on Sunday at FedEx Field. The offense is rolling on all cylinders, and the defense is starting to make some progress in the right direction. Keep in mind that the defense allowed 24 points to a Redskins offense that is ranked first in the league in points scored. Things are looking up for the Bengals right now as they move to 2-1 for the season and are getting tuned up to face the Jacksonville Jaguars this coming Sunday.

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