By Joe Kay
AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI — A.J. Green took up juggling when he was in grade school, learning how to toss-and-catch all sorts of things without dropping them. It was fun and developed his coordination.
Now, anything near his fingertips seems to stick.
The Bengals receiver pulled off one of the most amazing plays of the season during a 31-17 win over the Browns on Sunday.
In the middle of a scrum in the end zone, he jumped, tipped a desperation pass to himself, and pulled it in with one hand while being pulled down.
His 48-yard touchdown on the last play of the first half put the Bengals (3-4) in control and left everyone amazed.
No matter how many times they watched the play again on video, his teammates couldn’t help but marvel.
“If it’s not the play of the year, there has to be one that’s really, really good,” said Andy Dalton, who heaved the ball into the end zone so Green could work his magic.
“For how he tipped it, and then it went off someone else, and then he goes and gets it with one hand — it just goes to show how good his hands are.”
He put on a real show.
Later, Green beat a defender down the right sideline and made another one-handed catch for another 48-yard gain. On that one, he was looking back into the sun and didn’t see the ball until the last instant, forcing him to take a stab at it with one hand.
“At the last second, I put my hand out,” Green said. “It was the only way to get it.”
He’s been getting pretty much everything in what’s shaping up as his best season yet. Green, a first-round pick in 2011, leads the NFL with 50 catches and is second to Atlanta’s Julio Jones in yards receiving with 775. He’s got two of the top 10 games in yards receiving this season at 180 and 173.
What’s most impressive is the degree of difficulty on many of his catches. He pulled one down so impressively during a Thursday night win over the Dolphins that the postgame broadcast crew had him juggle three oranges to demonstrate his coordination.
The pair of one-handed catches on Sunday — part of a 169-yard performance — was simply stunning.
“An amazing play, to catch it with one hand,” receiver Brandon LaFell said. “It’s unbelievable.”
When Green held up the ball to show he’d made the touchdown catch, a bevy of Browns defenders stood in disbelief that he’d somehow come up with it.
“I think it sucked the life out of them,” Bengals running back Jeremy Hill said.
Green has nine games with at least 150 yards receiving and a touchdown, the fourth-most among NFL players in their first six seasons. He trails Lance Alworth (13), Jerry Rice (11) and Randy Moss (10). His nine games with at least 150 yards and a TD are tied for most among active players with Andre Johnson and Steve Smith, Sr.
Green works on his one-handed catches during practice. His one-man, one-hand show on Sunday was a chance for everyone else to watch what happens often during closed practices.
“You see it all the time,” coach Marvin Lewis said.
Notes: The Bengals will be the home team for their first trip to London, facing Washington (4-3) at Wembley Stadium. They’ll wear black jerseys with white pants. … The Bengals will have a two-hour practice in Cincinnati on Thursday and then fly to London. They’ll practice at Allianz Park on Friday and at Wembley for an hour on Saturday.