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How Joe Burrow divided targets with loaded Bengals WR group in Week 1

In his first game since 2018, A.J. Green almost hit double-digit targets in Week 1.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow made his debut with arguably the best receiving corps Cincinnati has had in a decade. The main weapon that everyone had their eye on was seven-time Pro Bowler A.J. Green.

The eight-year veteran, Green missed all of 2019. Earlier in training camp, Green’s Week 1 availability was up in the air. He notched five receptions and was targeted nine times, leading the Bengals in both categories.

He’s cemented himself as the safety net for the team’s rookie quarterback.

However, in what would have been a game-winning play, Green shoved off the defensive back, sending the team back ten yards. Randy Bullock then missed the 31-year-old field goal.

It was a brutal turn of events, one Cincinnati’s fanbase has grown used to over the years.

Here’s how the targets break down for Burrow in his debut.

  • A.J. Green — 9 targets
  • C.J. Uzomah — 5 targets
  • Tyler Boyd — 5 targets
  • Giovani Bernard — 5 targets
  • John Ross III — 5 targets

Mike Thomas, Drew Sample and Joe Mixon all got under four targets and played a relatively insignificant role in the passing game. That said, seeing C.J. Uzomah up there with five targets and four huge receptions is good to see, as production from the tight end spot was a big question mark coming into the season.

The one player we’ll be looking forward to in Week 2 or at least at some point early in the season is second-round pick Tee Higgins. It feels like Higgins is one John Ross drop away from getting his chance.

The Bengals lost 16-13, and while Burrow’s debut didn’t end like many hoped, it wasn’t all bad. He had a few quality looks, and with this receiving corps, he’ll look to continue to improve moving forward.