A.J. Green losing his cool is something you rarely see.
The Cincinnati Bengals losing a game is growing commonplace.
It’s doubtful the two are unrelated.
Green, the mild-mannered Bengals Pro Bowl wide receiver, was ejected with 10 seconds left in the first half of Sunday’s 23-7 loss at Jacksonville after he grabbed Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey around the neck from behind, threw him to the ground and began punching and kicking Ramsey.
Ramsey also was ejected from a game that was extremely chippy from the outset, beginning with a taunting penalty on Jacksonville’s Yannick Ngakoue on the Bengals first offensive snap.
“I have to control my emotions better,” Green told Dave Lapham of the Bengals Radio Network after the game. “I’ve got to be able to handle my stuff better. I can’t put myself in a situation like that and hurt my team.
“I know we can’t fight on the field, but he just got under my skin. I can’t let that happen. I’ve been the ultimate pro all this long. I can’t let little things like that get to me. I shouldn’t have reacted that way. I apologize to my teammates, (owner) Mr. (Mike) Brown and everybody. Because that’s not who I am. It just got the best of me today.”
The loss dropped the Bengals to 3-5, while Jacksonville improved to 5-3.
Cincinnati is 2-10 in its last 12 road games dating back to last season, with the only two wins coming in Cleveland.
Green was targeted just twice with one catch for 6 yards before his ejection as the Jaguars dominated the first half, running 43 plays to Bengals’ 16 while outgaining the visitors 249 to 116 to build a 13-7 lead at the break.
With Green in the locker room, the Cincinnati offense had just 32 yards in the second half.
In addition to Green, the Bengals also were without starting running back Jeremy Hill, who suffered an ankle injury in pregame warmups. Three other starters, right tackle Jake Fisher (illness), defensive tackle Pat Sims (calf) and safety Shawn Williams (hamstring), were unable to finish the game.
The Bengals lone scoring drive came as an immediate answer after Jacksonville went 96 yards in 15 plays to grab a 10-0 lead on a Blake Bortles to Marqise Lee 3-yard touchdown pass with 6:57 left in the second quarter.
Sparked by a career-long 58-yard reception by tight end Tyler Kroft, the Bengals went 80 yards in five plays, cutting the deficit to 10-7 on Joe Mixon’s 7-yard touchdown run with 4:13 remaining before halftime.
A Josh Lambo 56-yard field goal upped the lead to 13-7 with 23 seconds left in the first half.
Instead of taking a knee at their own 21, the Bengals ran Mixon up the middle, and that’s when the melee between Green and Ramsey ensued 20 yards down the field.
Jacksonville, which was without leading rusher Leonard Fournette due to discipline reasons for breaking a team rule, added a 25-yard Lambo field goal on its first drive of the second half and delivered the dagger on a Jaydon Mickens 63-yard punt return touchdown for a 23-7 lead with 14:35 left.
The Jaguars outgained the Bengals 407 to 148 as Bortles completed 24 of 38 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown for a 91.9 passer rating.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was just 10 of 18 for 136 yards.
Cincinnati returns to action next Sunday at Tennessee.
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