A.J. Green owns the Ravens.
There's really no other way to put it after his latest performance against them in Sunday's thrilling 28-24 win in Baltimore. For the second straight game against the Ravens, Green caught the game-winning score to break the Ravens' hearts (Green didn't play in the Week 8 matchup last year).
But this day was a special one for Green, one that will be featured on his career highlight reel when he hangs up the cleats sometime in the hopefully-distant future. Even in today's pass-happy NFL, you rarely see receivers put up the kind of numbers Green did in Baltimore as he torched Ravens defenders for big play after big play while calmly enjoying it on the sideline, unlike some other receiver in this game.
About that "other" wide receiver, Green did have only nice things to say. "He is incredible, I love watching him. When you think that he’s in his 15th year in the league, it’s amazing. I hope I can do that when I’m in my 15th year in the league."
Green was already having big game going into the fourth quarter with seven grabs for 124 yards. He was dominating Baltimore DBs for the majority of this one, and he really heated up late in the second quarter. His first big grab came toward the end of the half when Andy Dalton hit him down the sideline after Green had beaten cornerback Jimmy Smith for a 31-yard gain:
Green's next big gain would come on the first drive of the third quarter as he once again beat Smith deep before Dalton found him for a 34-yard gain:
However, Green's performance on this day will be remembered mostly for how he erupted in the final quarter for 101 yards and two scores. His first touchdown was an 80-yard bomb after the Ravens had taken their first lead of the game. The play saw Green beat safety Kendrick Lewis deep and then break tackles by safety Will Hill and Smith on his way to the end zone.
While the throw by Dalton and catch/effort by Green were great, Giovani Bernard also deserves praise for his willingness to "drop his nuts and pick up the blitz" to give Dalton just enough time to find Green.
After Baltimore retook the lead, Dalton would lead the offense back down the field before hitting Green for the game-winning seven-yard score. Green once again beat Smith on a corner route and got both feet down in the back of the end zone as he made a game-winning play look effortless:
The Bengals escaped with a 28-24 win and Green finished with a career-high 227 receiving yards on 10 catches to go with two scores. Even after dominating this game, Green was just happy to get the win and knew his teammates helped make it happen. But, Green isn't worried about the numbers. "I am not concerned with my statistics," Green said. We’re winning. That’s all I care about. But when my number is called, I want to respond and make plays."
For Green, he's just running the plays that are called and excelling at it like he's proved for the last four years he can do.
"It feels great to come in here and make plays and come away with a victory," Green said. "This game was very similar to a lot of other games we’ve played here. But I’m not the only one out here making plays. We have players like Jeremy [Hill], Marvin [Jones] and Mohamed [Sanu]. Plus, we have two of the best tackles in the NFL."
This was a game to remember for Green, and the Bengals needed every bit of it to come away with a thrilling win and a 3-0 start to what's shaping up to be a promising season.