Alex Erickson has made plays on occasion all season for the Cincinnati Bengals, but on Sunday in Denver he was a major part of the team’s win as he scored his first NFL regular season touchdown.
Erickson had two catches in the Bengals’ win over the Broncos for 42 yards and a touchdown. Both of his catches came on third down in critical parts of the game. His first catch was his 29-yard touchdown and his second came moments before A.J. Green scored an 18-yard touchdown, which would be the Bengals’ final score of the game.
Hell of a TD throw by Andy Dalton to Alex Erickson. Bengals take 13-7 lead. pic.twitter.com/wHkbmMJvhF— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) November 19, 2017
“I had the option to cut across and I thought he was sitting low enough that I could run by him and I was able to run by him and Andy (Dalton) found me again,” Erickson said of his touchdown in Denver.
The receive may be young, but he’s also adjusting quickly to the NFL game and becoming someone the offense can rely on.
“We needed a win badly,” Erickson said after the game. “We knew we had to come in here. Time is running out, so we know that we’ve got to start stacking them. But before you win two, you’ve got to win one, so we knew we had to get this one tonight and we were able to do that.”
Erickson’s connection with Andy Dalton has developed over time. Last year, Erickson served mostly as a return man on special teams but chipped in with six catches on eight targets for 71 yards. This year, Erickson has nine catches on 12 targets for 129 yards and 1 touchdown.
“That’s built over time and just being in the right spot,” Erickson said of his chemistry with Dalton. “He’ll find you because there’s no one better at picking apart defenses like Andy.”
Dalton also spoke highly of his receiver after the game.
"Alex did a good job of getting open and getting around them,” Dalton said of Erickson. “That's one of those things that sometimes a guy can get grabbed at that point, but for him, he was able to get open and it was a great route by him."
For Erickson, he’s seeing an increase in trust from his teammates and his ability to thrive when called upon will only continue to boost that trust.
“I think that’s built with practice reps and built over time and teammates having trust in you and having faith in you to make those plays,” he said. “Then when the opportunity presents itself. You’ve got to step up and make them.”
In addition to his plays on offense, Erickson had one punt return for four yards in Denver, as well as three fair catches. It wasn't the greatest special teams game for the Bengals, but the game ended with a win for Cincinnati and Erickson was a big part of getting the Bengals to 4-6.