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Haden shuts down Bengals' Green

Posted Sep 29, 2013

Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden limited Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green to 53 yards Sunday.

All week leading up to Sunday’s home game against the Cincinnati Bengals, all defensive back Joe Haden heard was how great a receiver third-year Bengal A.J. Green was, and those comments fueled his competitive fire.

Haden limited Green to 53 yards and no touchdowns on seven catches in the Browns’ 17-6 win at FirstEnergy Stadium. Green was targeted 15 times, and his longest play went for only 16 yards.

“It was a team effort,” Haden said. “Our front seven, they kept getting to the quarterback and didn’t give (Bengals quarterback Andy) Dalton too much time. He never got comfortable, and he and A.J. never got to get into that rhythm.

“I just give all the credit to everybody. I was just doing my technique, just trying to make sure I stayed on top and make sure if he caught the ball, he was coming back toward the quarterback. It was just a big team effort.”

Coming into Sunday’s game, Green had averaged 19.1 yards per reception against the Browns. In four previous games against the Browns, he had 18 catches for 344 yards and four touchdowns, including his first career two-score game in Cleveland last season.

Forced to pass late in the game because they were down by two scores, the Bengals began to lock in on Green in the fourth quarter. Three of Green’s receptions came on the Bengals’ final two drives, including the 16-yarder on a deep pass down the right side of the formation, but he was unable to break upfield and turn a first down into a touchdown.

“He’s a really special player,” Haden said. “He’s really, really talented, and we felt if we could slow him down, our front seven wasn’t going to let them run the ball on us. As long as we kept him in check, we thought we had a chance.”

Following the game, Haden drew rave reviews from his teammates and coaches for his performance against Green.

“He did a great job,” said defensive tackle Phil Taylor. “He held him to maybe three, four catches, and those catches came on the last drive when we knew they were going to pass. The thing was just coming out there and stopping the run. We did that. They had to go to the pass, and we knew our DBs could handle the job.”

Outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo added, “He played lights out, locked down one of the league’s top receivers. I don’t know how many yards he had or how many catches he had, but for the most part, Joe did his job, stepped up to the occasion and we got the ‘W.’”

For safety Tashaun Gipson and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, watching Haden shut down the big-play, downfield threat Green usually brings to the game validates how good their fourth-year cornerback is.

“Joe Haden, he plays the right way, and I like guys that play the game the right way,” Jackson said.

Gipson added, “Absolutely, he did a terrific job. I take my hat off to 18. He’s definitely a great up-and-coming receiver in this league, but I feel our 23 is better, and it’s always easy when you have someone like Joe on the outside. At the end of the day, he blankets receivers. That’s what he’s been doing all year, and that’s what he’s going to continue to do. I’m glad we’ve got Joe Haden and no other team in the league does. In my personal opinion, he’s the best corner in the league, and you can quote me on that.”

Coach Rob Chudzinski credited Haden’s work ethic for his production against Green.

“He continues to show me the type of player that he is, and rises to all of the challenges along the way,” Chudzinski said. “You can’t be more pleased with him. It’s no surprise.”

CAMERON CONTINUES TO IMPRESS

Browns tight end Jordan Cameron entered the game needing four catches to pass Pro Football Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome for the most receptions by a Browns tight end and five receiving yards to pass Milt Morin for the second-most receiving yards by a Browns tight end through the first four games of the season.

Check. And check.

Cameron caught 10 passes for 91 yards and one touchdown in the Browns’ win.

“Big play to get us started down there,” Chudzinski said of Cameron’s touchdown reception. “Brian (Hoyer) threw a fade to him. He had some catches. He seems to make big plays at big times.”

COMEBACK CUNDIFF

Browns kicker Billy Cundiff battled issues with his right thigh all week after suffering an injury in last Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings. After missing practice Wednesday and Thursday, Cundiff was limited, but remained active for the Bengals.

After missing two field goals going into the East end zone, Cundiff drilled a 51-yarder through the West uprights with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter. The converted field goal put the Browns in front of the Bengals, 10-6.

“It was big, how after missing the two, actually, one of them was tipped and blocked, he showed resiliency and the mental toughness to come back and hit the 51-yarder,” Chudzinski said. “I just had a hunch that he was going to make that. I gave him a shot, and he went and did it.”