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3September 11, 2016: Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton (14) [15516] back to pass during the New York Jets home opener versus the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by David Hahn/Icon Sportswire)
Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals’ Dalton-Green combo has been lethal on the road

(Photo by David Hahn/Icon Sportswire)
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Darrelle Revis is likely to be enshrined in Canton five years after his playing career ends.

The New York Jets cornerback has been to seven Pro Bowls in his seven-year career and he’s a four-time All-Pro. His coverage skills are so respected that he was long ago given the nickname “Revis Island.”

However, few, if any, wide receivers have had a better performance against Revis than Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green last Sunday in a season-opening 23-22 victory on the road over the Jets. Green hauled in career-high-tying 12 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown.

The Bengals face the Steelers on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field and the AFC North rivalry game will feature two of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

The Steelers’ Antonio Brown caught eight receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns Monday night in a 38-16 road victory over the Washington Redskins. While Green has five Pro Bowl appearances on his resume in his six-year career, Brown has been to four Pro Bowls and twice has been an All-Pro in his seven seasons.

Both receivers played a big hand in their quarterbacks putting up big Week 1 numbers. Dalton threw for 366 yards despite being sacked seven times and the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger had 300 yards and three touchdowns.

Clearly, Dalton and Roethlisberger have built great rapports with their top receivers.

“First off, Ben and I both have really talented receivers,” Dalton said. “And then it just comes with time. I’ve been with A.J. my whole career, he’s been with Antonio for seven years now, I think. So it’s just part of the chemistry and building it. When you’ve got talented players, you get that chemistry. When you’re both trying to be good at what you do, you’re going to have big plays.”

Green and Dalton have grown together as they were the Bengals’ first two picks in the 2011 draft- Green being selected fourth overall from Georgia and Dalton being taken in the second round from TCU.

Dalton was made the starter at the beginning of his rookie year and he developed chemistry quickly with Green. The duo has helped the Bengals reached the playoffs in each of their first five seasons.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Dalton and Green are the most productive pass-catch duo in NFL history through their first five seasons. as their 395 completions and 5,789 yards were the most ever and their 40 touchdowns tied the number Dan Marino and Mark Clayton had with the Miami Dolphins from 1983-87.

“When you’ve got a guy like A.J., you get the ball around him and he’s going to make the catch,” Dalton said. “It evolves over time, but I would say we’re a little better now than we were our first year. I think you start to build that early on.”

Dalton and Green also have shown a knack for coming up big in the fourth quarter of road games. Dalton has a 25-14 career record away from Cincinnati and Green made a difficult 11-yard catch last Sunday that put the Bengals in range for Mike Nugent to kick the game-winning 47-yard field on the next play with 54 seconds remaining.

“That’s the point of the game where you have to be at your best,” Dalton said. “If you’re wanting to win the game, you’ve got to get your guys the ball. He’s got the mentality that he’s going to win every single time out there, and we’ve been able to get it to him. That’s been really good for us. We’ve been able to get our best guy on the offense the ball, and he’s been able to make plays with it.”

The Bengals have a new play caller this season. Ken Zampese has taken over as the offensive coordinator for Hue Jackson, who left to become the Cleveland Browns’ head coach. Zampese was the Bengals’ quarterbacks coach for 12 seasons beginning in 2003, so the transition has been smooth.

“We felt like there was good communication last week, and we were able to adjust to things on the sideline,” Dalton said. “That’s what you have to do during games. It’s not always going to happen exactly how you think it’s going to. So it comes down to, ‘This is what they’re doing, this is how we need to react, this is what we need to do in different situations,’ and I thought we did a good job of that on Sunday.”

Now Dalton will try to carry that momentum over to Sunday against the Steelers in what has become one of the most physical rivalries in the NFL. He has held his own at Heinz Field with a 2-3 record.

The Steelers’ secondary had a hard time matching up with Green last season as he had 17 receptions for 250 yards and two touchdowns in the two regular-season meeting.

His 25-yard score with 1:50 left to give a Bengals a 16-15 lead in an AFC divisional playoff game at Cincinnati but the Steelers rallied — thanks to a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties — for an 18-16 victory on Chris Boswell’s 35-yard field goal with 14 seconds remaining.

“Anytime you go on the road, it’s tough to win,” Dalton said. “Everything is stacked up against you. Especially in Pittsburgh. It’s a divisional game. The crowd’s going to be into it. You have to stay poised. Just stick to the game plan. You have to steal games on the road.”

Bengals’ Dalton-Green combo has been lethal on the road



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