Sports

Dalton and Green finally getting reconnected, keeping Bengals in first place in AFC North

  • Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton (14) celebrates a touchdown pass to teammate Mohamed Sanu during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

    Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton (14) celebrates a touchdown pass to teammate Mohamed Sanu during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cincinnati Bengals' Jeremy Hill (32) celebrates with teammate Andy Dalton, left, after running for a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

    Cincinnati Bengals' Jeremy Hill (32) celebrates with teammate Andy Dalton, left, after running for a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)  (The Associated Press)

A.J. Green is playing at a Pro Bowl level again, one of the biggest reasons the Bengals are holding onto first place in the AFC North.

The receiver missed three games and most of another one with an injured big right toe. He had only 23 catches in his first six games, making few big plays along the way.

In the past two games, Green has 18 catches and is forcing defenses to focus on him again. He had a season-high 12 catches for 121 yards on Sunday during a 22-13 win over the Houston Texas that kept Cincinnati (7-3-1) atop the tightly bunched division.

Quarterback Andy Dalton is no longer hesitating to go to his best receiver when he's covered.

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Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL