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Bengals Use A.J. Green As Decoy During Jermaine Gresham's "9 Route"

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The Cincinnati Bengals opened the game with a 7-0 lead, capped by a touchdown taking advantage of opposing defense's obsession with A.J. Green.

Andy Lyons

It was a beautiful possession.

Following San Diego's deferment after winning the coin toss, the Cincinnati Bengals opened the game at their own nine-yard line, largely thanks to Brandon Tate fumbling the football in the endzone. Yet they gutted and pressed the possession with a series of runs, short passes and third down conversions. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was a heavy element rushing six times for 21 yards, helping to generate enough yardage to situationally reduce to-go scenarios for eventual conversions. A fourth down conversion was converted, thanks to a defensive hold, giving Cincinnati an automatic first down.

Eventually the Bengals have second and nine at San Diego's 19-yard line with 7:45 remaining in the first quarter.

Gresham lines up at the right tight end position with A.J. Green wide right. While Green runs a (very) thin post (that could otherwise be called seam), Gresham undercut Green's route. The cornerback, initially covering Green, was assigned the near sideline in Cover Three. And due to the obsession opposing defenses have with Green, the cornerback remained with the receiver too long, allowing Gresham free reign during his "9 route".

Comfortable enough that the cornerback would stick with Green, quarterback Andy Dalton threw the football during Gresham's break, easily scoring a touchdown to take a quick 7-0 lead against the San Diego Chargers.