Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green reached a career-high with three touchdown receptions on Thursday, and it only took him a little more than a quarter to achieve it.
Green roasted the Baltimore Ravens for TD catches of 4, 32 and 7 yards, the first two coming in the first quarter and the third occurring early in the second quarter as the Bengals took a 21-0 lead.
In what started as an ugly, mistake-filled affair, the Bengals got great field position after Joe Flacco's poor interception. Deep in Baltimore territory, Green beat Ravens corner Tavon Young for the first score on a pretty red-zone design vs. single coverage.
The Bengals then got the ball back quickly, and Andy Dalton — standing up the blitz — delivered a pass over the middle to Green, who ripped through Young for his second score. Touchdown No. 3 came after the Ravens' third punt in four possession, as Green bested Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey on a 3rd-and-goal catch to give the Bengals a three-TD edge early.
Their 21 points through 17 minutes were more than the Bengals scored in 10 of their 16 games last season. In Week 2 last year, the Bengals struggled mightily in a Thursday night loss to the Houston Texans and fired their offensive coordinator the following day.
Things are working better now. Green had six two-TD games in his career prior to this game, but never three. The Bengals' team record for TD receptions in a game is four by Marvin Jones in 2013.