Saying he felt as good as he has since training camp, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green had the biggest game of his career Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Green, who missed three games earlier this season and most of a fourth with a toe injury, caught 11 passes for a career-high 224 yards, including an 81-yard touchdown that was 1 yard shy of the longest of his career. But he only caught one pass for 21 yards in disastrous fourth quarter that saw the Bengals get outscored 25-0 on the way to a 42-21 loss.
“Stats really don’t matter to me,” Green said afterward. “It was a big game, and I was trying to be aggressive, emotional and just trying to make plays whenever my number was called.”
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton targeted Green 15 times and connected with him for the team’s three longest gains of the day. Green beat Ike Taylor for receptions of 56 and 21 yards in addition to his 81-yarder that was the second longest of his career next to the 82-yarder he had in last year’s 27-24 overtime win at Detroit.
“For the past couple of years, (Taylor) was killing me,” Green said. “They had my number. I was just trying to do some different things.”
Green’s 223 yards were the second most in franchise history behind Chad Johnson’s 260 in a 49-41 loss at San Diego on Nov. 12, 2006.
“When you’ve got a guy like A.J., you want to get him the ball,” Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said. “We had a lot of really good looks today, and we hit big plays. He’s such a big play waiting to happen, and it showed today.”
It was the 20th 100-yard game of Green’s career, moving him into second place in team history with Isaac Curtis. Johnson leads the way with 31.
The big game moved Green past Mohamed Sanu for the team lead in receptions (56) and yards (910). Sanu has 53 catches for 754 yards.