Sep 8, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a 45 yard touchdown pass over Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings (26) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
1. A.J. Green vs. Himself
Last week, it was evident that A.J. Green was not mentally prepared for the Bengals’ matchup with the Buccaneers. He made a couple of good catches but memorably dropped an easy catch into Alterraun Verner’s hands. (Verner then returned the interception for a touchdown).
Sep 8, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) and wide receiver A.J. Green (18) celebrate a touchdown during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
A.J. Green, however, is better than his performance in Tampa indicates. He’s the best wide receiver in the AFC North and one of the best in the NFL.
And last time A.J. suited up against the Bears, he absolutely torched them. Despite Cincinnati’s efforts coming up just short when it faced Chicago in a 24-21 Week 1 loss in 2013, Green exploded for nine catches, 162 yards and two touchdowns. He burned Pat Tillman on two plays, a 42-yard catch down the sideline and a play in which Green drew a 30+ yard pass interference call on Tillman.
However, just like Green’s performance in Tampa, he had a few bad plays against the Bears back in 2013.
Dalton threw two interceptions while targeting Green, both going to Charles Tillman. In addition, Tim Jennings forced a fumble by Green; despite the fumble going out of bounds, it was a huge scare for Bengals fans.
Green needs to prove that he’s a consistent player, and he should be able to do this against a questionable Bears secondary featuring sophomore corner Kyle Fuller, veteran corner Tim Jennings, former Giants safety Antrel Rolle and sophomore safety Brock Vereen.
Despite the unit’s upside, Green is much better than all four of these players featured in Chicago’s secondary; he should be able to burn them on at least a play or two this game. Here’s to hoping that Green proves to be mentally tough and responds to last week’s dud with some solid play.