We've touched on the versatility the Cincinnati Bengals show in the passing game.
Quarterback Andy Dalton may have a favorite receiver in superstar A.J. Green, but as recent games have shown, he's far from being the only playmaker in the Bengals' complex offensive scheme. Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Tyler Eifert, Jermaine Gresham and Giovani Bernard have all played key roles in boosting Dalton's accuracy, yard-after-catch and touchdown numbers.
And apparently, the more those guys not named "Green" get the ball in places where they can score, the better things are for the Bengals.
What exactly do I mean? Well, you'll just have to read on a little further into this edition of the Morning Stripes:
We begin with a look at just how good the Bengals have been, from a record standpoint, since the start of last season when any combination of Jones, Sanu, Gresham or Bernard have caught touchdown passes. We took Eifert off that list because the rookie has yet to have his first touchdown reception. A big hat-tip to the Dayton Daily News' Jay Morrison for the find here. In a post on his blog, Morrison wrote that when any combination of the aforementioned four catches a touchdown pass, the Bengals are 9-1 since the start of last season. They are 3-0 when Sanu, Jones or Bernard score a touchdown. They are 4-1 when Gresham scores one. When A.J. Green catches a touchdown, they are 12-8. That's just more evidence about how this offense likes to distribute the ball.
Bernard is the pass-catcher among the group who has two of the more entertaining Bengals touchdown receptions of the season. The first of those scores came way back in Week 2 when he turned a corner and turned on the jets after catching a screen pass near the line of scrimmage and sprinted, untouched, for a 27-yard score. It was the first time a national audience had seen his speed in the NFL on full display. The second of those particular scores came last weekend, when he caught a shovel pass from Dalton and juked and swerved around defenders for a 20-yard touchdown reception at Buffalo. The way he plays is a lot like the running back Cincinnati's defense will see this weekend: Reggie Bush. Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson considers the Bernard-Bush battle to be one of the key matchups of Sunday's game between the Bengals and Lions.
FoxSports Ohio's Kevin Goheen has an interesting take on the Lions' habitual line-crosser, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and the need for Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict to avoid going down the same path as Suh, the Pro Bowl-caliber player who is known more for his post-play antics than his actual play. Suh was fined $31,500 on Wednesday for a late hit on Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden. Burfict earlier this season was fined $31,000 for two separate incidents in a game against the Packers, and he was slapped with three 15-yard penalties at Buffalo last weekend.
There's not much news in this link, but it's about Andy Dalton and it's on the New York Times' website, so I figured I would link it. The Bengals don't often lead the NFL roundup on the Times' site, so here you go. If Dalton can finally get that first-round-playoff-exit monkey off his back this January, you'll probably be seeing him not only on the Times' site, but in the newspaper a time or two more.
Speaking of Dalton, you surely heard Wednesday that he was named the AFC's Offensive Player of the Week. In case not, here it is from WXIX (Fox19) in Ohio. It's the second time he has claimed that honor and the third time he has received weekly recognition. He also received such acclaim his first year as he was deemed the conference's offensive rookie of the month in October 2011.