In the Cincinnati Bengals’ season opener against the Chicago Bears, All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green was the passing game – at least when it came to wide receivers. If the Bengals are going to live up to expectations in 2013, second-year receiver Mohamed Sanu is going to have to change that.
During Sunday’s 21-24 loss to the Bears, Sanu hauled in four of his five targets for 19 yards, including a long catch of eight yards. According to Pro Football Focus, he finished the game with a -1.6 overall rating and turned in an all-around disappointing performance for the Bengals.
Despite being quarterback Andy Dalton’s No.2 wide receiver, Sanu didn’t do enough to entice his quarterback to throw his way.
Green saw the ball come his way 13 times while tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert both had five targets from Dalton. Taking only wide receivers into account, Green accounted for 65 percent of the Bengals’ catches and 86 percent of the team’s receiving yards. If it wasn’t for the presence of the two pass-catching tight ends, Green might have had to put the entire passing game on his shoulders.
The Bengals simply can’t depend on Green to put up 162 receiving yards and two scores game in and game out.
Moving forward, the Bengals need more from Sanu, who was touted as an electrifying talent coming out of college. The Rutgers product must do a better job of finding openings in the defense, creating separation and picking up yards after the catch. Sanu needs to provide Dalton with a reliable weapon who can take pressure off of Green and consistently move the chains.
During the preseason, some people went as far as saying that Green and Sanu were the best wide receiver duo in the NFL. While Green is elite, Sanu has a long way to go before I’ll even entertain the idea.
We’ll see next Monday if Sanu can find a rhythm and create some sparks against the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary.