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Old 11-13-2011, 09:06 AM   #1
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Default Head to Head: Bengals WR A.J. Green vs. Steelers CB Ike Taylor

Head to Head: Bengals WR A.J. Green vs. Steelers CB Ike Taylor
A closer look at the game within the game
Sunday, November 13, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A.J. Green, left, and Ike Taylor

Bengals rookie receiver A.J. Green has garnered more than just the admiration of cornerback Ike Taylor. He has gained the respect and following of another more famous Ike -- former Bengals receiving great Isaac Curtis.

Green is just the latest in a long line of rookie receivers who have burst into the league with eye-opening performances with the Bengals, joining Curtis (1973), Cris Collinsworth (1981) and Eddie Brown (1985).

"He's as talented as anyone in the league right now," said Curtis, the Bengals' all-time receiving leader, in an interview with Bengals.com. "He's got unlimited talent. He's fun to watch and he's certainly as talented as anyone that's come through here."

That is saying a lot.

Curtis had 45 catches for 843 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie in 1973. Collinsworth caught 67 passes for 1,009 yards and eight TDs and went to the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 1981. And Brown, who was drafted three spots higher than Jerry Rice in 1985, had 53 catches, 942 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie.

Green, the fourth overall pick in the draft, might top them all.

After eight games, he leads the team with 40 catches, 599 yards and five touchdowns. Four of his touchdown catches have come from rookie quarterback Andy Dalton -- the most touchdowns from a rookie quarterback-rookie wide receiver tandem since Jay Cutler and Tony Scheffler had four with the Denver Broncos in 2006.

The NFL record for touchdowns in a season by a rookie duo is nine, set by Tony Banks and Eddie Kennison of the St. Louis Rams in 1995 and Cleveland's Tim Couch and Kevin Johnson in 1999. Green and Dalton have a chance to break that.

"He can do it all for a rookie," said Taylor, who has been shadowing the other team's top receiver each week and will likely do the same with Green (6-4, 207). "He's a special rookie. I've been a fan of his since Georgia, just watching him."

It is hard not to be a fan of Green's talent. He has the size and speed to run past defenders and the Larry Fitzgerald-like body control to outmaneuver them for the ball. He showed that in last week's comeback victory in Tennessee when he caught a 20-yard pass on third-and-18 on the winning touchdown drive.

He also has 11 catches of 20 yards or longer, seventh most in the NFL and only two fewer than Mike Wallace of the Steelers, who leads the AFC in yards per catch (18.5).

"He's as advertised," said defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. "He's one of the better first-year receivers I've ever seen."

The Steelers have slipped to No. 3 in the league in pass defense after giving up 300 yards last week to Baltimore's Joe Flacco, including 92 on the winning touchdown drive in the final seconds. But they lead the NFL in fewest completions of 40 yards or more (1), lead the AFC in fewest yards per catch (5.9) and are second in the AFC in fewest completions of 20-plus yards (19). That will be put to the test against Green, who is battling his own teammate, Dalton, for rookie of the year honors in the AFC.

"We saw his talent early on in training camp," Dalton said of Green. "He was going up and making catches that were unbelievable. ... We haven't played our best game yet, but I feel like we are getting better and are finding ways to win."

Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com; twitter: @gerrydulac

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11317...#ixzz1db9FblBM
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: Head to Head: Bengals WR A.J. Green vs. Steelers CB Ike Taylor

Ike has been impressive thus far since week 1 of the season, I have a feeling the rookie will get a lesson today. Ike is truly turning into a "shut down" corner, Green will not run wild on Ike today!!!!!
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