Former Bengals first-rounder John Ross chips away at 'bust' status with 158-yard, 2-TD day

Jack BaerYahoo Sports Contributor

In the two seasons since the Cincinnati Bengals made John Ross the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the word “bust” has become unavoidable in describing the wide receiver’s career.

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Ross logged zero — yes, zero — receiving yards in three games during a rookie season in which he battled knee and shoulder injuries, then saw a small tick up to 210 yards his sophomore season. Meanwhile, Tyler Boyd established himself as the clear No. 2 behind A.J. Green.

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Well, with Green out in the Bengals opener on Sunday, Ross went ahead and increased his career receiving yards by more than 50 percent in one half of football.

John Ross shows why Bengals drafted him

The Bengals posted their first touchdown of the season thanks to some trickery that ended with the ball in Ross’ hands, a flea-flicker from Andy Dalton that caught the Seattle Seahawks off guard.

Ross followed that up with a deep catch near the end of the first half behind a leaping safety, seen above.

John Ross seems to be enjoying the Bengals' new offense. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
John Ross seems to be enjoying the Bengals' new offense. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

After a half of play, Ross had 108 receiving yards, three receptions and two touchdowns on seven targets. He kept it going in the second half, eventually finishing with seven reception on 12 targets for 158 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a 21-20 loss.

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Big plays like that were likely what the Bengals had in mind when they used a top-10 pick on Ross. The Washington grad is well-known for his record 4.22 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.

Ross was one of several Bengals players on offense who stood to benefit from the team moving Marvin Lewis to Zac Taylor as head coach, and the possible rewards are now evident. We’ll see what happens when Green returns, though.

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