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Tee Higgins closing in on Bengals’ rookie receiving records

Higgins had another solid outing Week 13 despite the Bengals’ continued offensive woes.

NFL: New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals
Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals’ rookie receiver Tee Higgins grew up idolizing A.J. Green. And the similarities are striking. Higgins came in at 6’4″ and 216 pounds with 34 1/8″ arms at the 2020 NFL Combine. Green measured 6’4″ and 211 pounds with 34 3/8″ arms at his.

“I actually model my game after him,” Higgins said. “Man, it’s crazy. I was just talking about this to my good friend — I could end up with the Bengals and be his teammate one day. Now that this moment is here, it’s surreal.”

So it’s only fitting that Higgins finds himself on pace to exceed Green’s rookie total for receptions of 65 in 2011. Higgins, who had five receptions Sunday, currently has 48 catches on the season and is on pace for 71. Cris Collinsworth set the Bengals’ rookie record of 67 in 1981.

Green currently holds the franchise’s rookie record for reception yards at 1,031. Higgins, who has 673 yards after Sunday’s 56-yard effort in the loss to the Dolphins, will need to average 89.5 yards per game to catch him.

“I feel like every week he’s just become better and better,” Bengals’ head coach Zac Taylor said. “More consistent. Now he’s not thinking. He’s just going out there and runs and plays and catches. . . .And now he’s done it enough times on tape against really good defenses. His confidence is through the roof. He can do it against anybody and he has done it.”

Sunday, Higgins showed his determination and grit when he was injured after hurdling a defender late in the fourth quarter.

“The injury, just had a little hamstring tweak,” Higgins said after the game, “but I’m a playmaker. Playmakers try to make plays and I tried to make a play. So if it comes about again, I’ll do it again.”

Cincinnati is sitting at 2-9-1 after yet another lost season, and there are signs that some of the players are becoming frustrated with the lack of progress. But there is no quit in Higgins. Ever.

“100 percent,” Higgins said. “That’s just who I am. I just go out there and try to make a play. I call myself a playmaker, so that’s what I try to do every play.”