CINCINNATI (AP) — For the final practice each week, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis orders his best receiver to the sideline to watch everyone else run the plays.
It's done for a purpose, not punishment. Lewis wants the other Cincinnati receivers to see what they can do without A.J. Green getting the ball.
So far, it's been a good lesson.
The Bengals (1-1) have found plenty of help for their Pro Bowl receiver during the first two games. Andrew Hawkins, Armon Binns and Brandon Tate have been keeping up with Green, just like in that final practice each week.
"On Fridays, I usually stick him right by me," Lewis said, "and let everybody else go to work."
Green was a blocker on the Bengals' biggest plays Sunday during a 34-27 win over Cleveland at Paul Brown Stadium. Andy Dalton matched his career high with three touchdown passes, including a 10-yarder to Green in the first half.
Tate ran past a safety for a 44-yard touchdown catch that opened the second half and put Cincinnati in control. Hawkins turned a short reception into a 50-yard touchdown play in the fourth quarter.
"Some days will be my day, and some days will be others'," said Green, who had a team-high seven catches for 58 yards.
Developing receivers to complement Green was one of Cincinnati's offseason priorities. Against the Browns (0-2), they used everyone to full advantage. The Browns double-teamed Green, preventing him from making a game-breaking play.
With Green soaking up the defense's attention, the other receivers had more room to maneuver.
"They crowded my side a lot and didn't let me beat them over the top," Green said. "I had to run short routes and make big plays open up. I'm willing to do anything."
The most sensational play was Hawkins' clinching touchdown. Dalton scrambled to his right to avoid the rush and saw Hawkins open about 10 yards downfield. Once the 5-foot-7 receiver got the ball, he eluded several defenders and got blocks from the other receivers.
Green threw the final block on the play as Hawkins reached the end zone.
"You have to be a complete receiver," Binns said. "We have to put out effort at all times, even when the ball isn't in our hands. It felt good to help Hawk get in there for his first touchdown."
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