I don’t know about you guys, but I didn’t spend a ton of time watching the Bengals last year. Don’t get me wrong. I knew Andy Dalton and A.J. Green were good and stuff, but most of the exposure I had to their rookie campaigns came through scattered highlights and fantasy football games in which I was getting trounced. Imagine my surprise, then, when exposed to all those highlights in one place.
The above play is part of this eight-minute package of Green catches, and it’s definitely my favorite of the bunch. There are so many things in here that all 47 Bengals fans can get excited about. First is just about everything Andy Dalton does on this play. The pass rush gets to him in less than a second, and he still manages to step up in the pocket and throw a 50-yard strike without setting his feet. The ball couldn’t be more perfect. I’ve watched this 15 times, and I still have no idea how this happened.
Then there’s the A.J. Green-ness of it, which is best understood during the replay. That dude in blue who A.J. twists into the ground is Earl Thomas, who gets paid a lot of money to stop people from catching footballs and is actually pretty adept at doing so. Coming out of Georgia, it was no secret that Green was probably the most physically gifted wide receiver to come into the league since Calvin Johnson. That’s great and all, but the guys who are really good are just that because of the subtleties of playing wide receiver. There’s a reason it’s a position where rookies rarely excel, and it’s the same reason that Green did. The first cut on that route is just pronounced enough to make the second one easy. It’s a thing of beauty.