Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, a perennial thorn in the Ravens’ side, is not expected to be available to torment the Ravens again in Sunday’s showdown between the AFC North rivals because of an injured toe on his right foot.
But that news has been overshadowed by the presence of fellow wideout Tyler Boyd, who has enjoyed success in his last two games against the defense. He caught five passes for 91 yards — including a 49-yard touchdown that eliminated the Ravens from playoff contention — in last year’s regular-season finale and then six balls for 91 yards and another score in Cincinnati’s 34-23 victory on Sept. 13.
“I know they don’t have A.J., but I think Boyd, in the past two games, we didn’t really give him much respect, and he’s definitely showed us we should,” cornerback Marlon Humphrey said Wednesday. “The time they beat us last year, he did a lot of good things. So with A.J. out, I guess it’s Boyd, [John] Ross, I know they’ve got [rookie Auden] Tate. He was a guy I watched last year and he gave ‘Bama some fits. They’ve got the guys. So we’ve definitely got to respect their guys. I think it’ll be a good matchup between our corners and their receivers.”
The 30-year-old Green is tied for 18th in the NFL in receiving yards with 687 and has caught six touchdown passes. Half of those scores occurred in that Week 2 win during which he had five receptions for 69 yards.
But Green injured his toe in the Bengals’ 37-34 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 28. Without the seven-time Pro Bowler, the offense mustered only 174 passing yards and 284 total yards in a 51-14 shellacking by the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
“Everybody has to do their job within the scope and the flow of the offense,” Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said during a conference call with Baltimore media. “[Quarterback] Andy [Dalton] is going to let the things play out, and these guys have to beat people to the spot and execute the play call. Whether it’s blocking or route-running or whatever it is, they have to do their job. When you lose a great player or have to play without a great player — we’ve all had to — everybody has to raise their level of play.”
Green did not practice Wednesday, and multiple reports have suggested that he will sit out Sunday’s game against the Ravens. But defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, who called Green “one of the best,” isn’t buying those reports.
“I don’t know necessarily that A.J. Green is not going to play in this game,” he said Thursday. “I know everybody thinks he’s not going to play in this game, but I have not heard it. So we’re preparing like A.J. Green is going to be there.”