FOXBOROUGH — With two solid running backs, two big tight ends, and a fleet of steady receivers, the Patriots know they’ll need to play smart football if they want to beat the Bengals on Sunday in Cincinnati.
The biggest thing that jumps off the film in their preparation? Speed, especially in receiver A.J. Green and running back Giovani Bernard.
Bernard, a rookie from North Carolina, is the team’s leading rusher, averaging nearly 5 yards a carry.
“He’s fast. You can tell, he kind of jumps off the table when he gets the ball in his hands, especially any type of quick throw or run,” Devin McCourty said. “We’ve got to try to contain him. In space, he’s very tough to tackle, he’s made plays for them just with getting the ball in his hands. Sometimes it’s them throwing him a 2-yard pass, and letting him do the rest.”
The Bengals also like to throw the ball to Green and let him do the rest. He’s gone over 1,000 in each of his first two seasons, and has 300 this year four games in.
“Speed, man, big catch radius,” Aqib Talib said, when asked his opinion of Green. “He can get down the field and get that ball.”