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Film Room: Bengals seal win with A.J. Green drive

Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green stood tall during Cincinnati's fourth quarter possession, which gave Cincinnati a commanding 27-10 lead and the eventual win.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Let's call it the A.J. Green drive.

Seriously. If the football gods concocted a series of plays that could be called the A.J. Green drive... this would be it. After all, Green posted 80 yards receiving during a possession that began at their own 20-yard line with 14:56 remaining in the fourth quarter. And in all seriousness, the drive spanned 90 yards (not 80) because, surprise, there was an offensive pass interference by... Green.

One could argue that these series of plays were what sealed Cincinnati's 27-10 win over the New Orleans Saints.

With 13:49 remaining in the third quarter, the Bengals had third down with 18 yards to go from their own 12-yard line. The Mercedes-Benz crowd was loud. Very loud. The Saints just scored a touchdown to reduce Cincinnati's lead to 10 points. They were born again. Motivated. Hopeful. LOL. Agent Smith, "It's inconceivable that organisms would actually use rallying cries like 'Who Dat' and feel hopeful with a situation that's both irrelevant and hopeless... Mr. Anderson."

The Bengals had three wide receivers and Jermaine Gresham playing the two-point stance. Rather than conceding the possession, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson applied routes designed for conversion. Green, wide right, and James Wright, wide left, ran vertical (at least it appeared so on the broadcast... coaches tape doesn't come out until later in the week). Mohamed Sanu played from the slot, inside Green and ran a skinny post. Gresham, a few yards outside of his normal tight end spot, ran a slant.

A.J. Green formation SAINTS

After noticing that Green was streaking past cornerback Brian Dixon, Dalton arched a throw that could only be described as perfect. It floated over cornerback Dixon and hovered far-enough away from safety Rafael Bush for Green. The 38-yard reception picked up the first down... and quieted the dome.

A.J. Green Saints GIF

A.J. Green Saints GIF

After consecutive runs by Jeremy Hill, the Bengals had third down from the Saints 42-yard line and 12:16 remaining in the game. All they needed was two yards. Green and Wright lined up wide right and left respectively. Jermaine Gresham and Mohamed Sanu swapped spots from the play described above.


AJ Green formation SAINTS

Dalton hit Green in stride, picking up 18 yards and the first down.

AJ Saints GIF

That set up a first down from the Saints 24-yard line with 11:35 remaining in the game. The Bengals showed I-formation with Green wide left and Mohamed Sanu wide right. Both ran a vertical route while Jermaine Gresham (left tight end), Ryan Hewitt (fullback) and Jeremy Hill (running back) stayed in to block (at least initially).

AJ Green formation Saints

Dalton quick snapped it and launched the football toward Green down the left sidelines. And once again, Dalton threw a football that can only be defined as perfection.

AJ TD Saints GIF

AJ TD Saints GIF


The A.J. Green drive announced to those listening that his foot/toe injury is healed and that Andy Dalton's primary weapon, desperately needed in recent weeks, has returned.