It took just one game for A.J. Green to remind everyone that he’s one of the game’s best receivers.
Going against a loaded Jets defense that featured All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis, few were expecting Green to have a big game, but he had that and then some. With the Bengals offense struggling to get much going anywhere else, Green shouldered the load and caught a game-high 12 passes for 180 yards and a score.
In his last four regular-season openers, Green has caught 32 passes for 536 yards and four touchdowns. During a Tuesday interview with ESPN’s Hannah Storm, Green attributed his big openers to luck and hard work.
“I guess luck is on my side in openers,” Green said. I just go out there with the mindset to try and win every matchup. That’s my week-to-week approach. I just got lucky on Sunday.”
On Sunday, Green alone had almost half of the Bengals’ 381 total yards while accounting for 56-percent of the passing yards (324). He did so with the bulk of his damage coming against Revis, who Green made look like a rookie just trying to find his way in the NFL.
But Green has nothing but respect for Revis, which he stressed on Sunday and re-emphasized on Tuesday.
“Man, that guy (Revis) has nothing to prove,” Green said. “You’ve seen his body of work for the last 10 years. I just went out there and tried to win the one-on-one battle. I didn’t care who was across from me. I just tried to win, but that guy, you’ve seen his body of work. It’s unmatched. Definitely a top-five corner that’s ever played this game.”
Green also mentioned that the Wild Card loss in January went from the best day of his life to the worst in a matter of seconds and that he hasn’t watched the game, and doesn’t ever plan to.
Later, Green got into it with ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith, who has made it no secret that he doesn’t like the Bengals, even though he likes Green. Smith doesn’t like the Bengals because of their frequent playoff failures, but Green vowed to prove that the Bengals will prove Smith wrong.
“I know you don’t like us Stephen,” Green said. “We’re going to prove you wrong one day. We’re going to prove you wrong, and we’re going to have this conversation again. But like I say, we’re just taking it one week at a time.
“Last year, it (Steelers playoff game) was heartbreaking, just to go out there and a lose a game like that, the game that we thought we were the better team and we had that game won.
“But this year is a new team, like this year, coach (Marvin) Lewis is always preaching to keep our poise. It’s a new team, new guys and a new season, and that’s the approach we’re taking. And me as a leader, that’s what I gotta enforce into our locker room.”
That’s exactly what you want to hear one of your team’s biggest players saying. That sounds like a real leader, something Green has stressed he wanted to take one a bigger role with this year.