No Green, no Gresham as Bengals begin playoffs

INDIANAPOLIS — The Bengals were already going to be without their top wide receiver for Sunday’s AFC wild card game at Indianapolis. Now they’ll play without their top tight end as well.

Jermaine Gresham won’t play because of a bad back.

Gresham is second on the team with 62 receptions, seven fewer than wide receiver A.J. Green who also won’t be available. Green was ruled out of the game on Saturday with a concussion suffered last week at Pittsburgh. Gresham did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday this week and was limited on Friday. He came out for warm-ups on Sunday but was stiff in his movements and his body language foretold of what was to come.

Green and Gresham have accounted for 131 receptions for 1,501 yards and 11 touchdowns in the Cincinnati passing game.

Brandon Tate is expected to start in place of Green. Kevin Brock will start in place of Gresham but rookie Ryan Hewitt will also see an extended role. Brock and Hewitt have a combined 15 catches for 107 yards.

The rest of the Bengals’ inactives are quarterback A.J. McCarron, cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris, offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson, defensive lineman Devon Still, and wide receiver James Wright.

The Bengals are attempting to win a road playoff game for the first time in franchise history. They are also trying to win in the postseason in six appearances under head coach Marvin Lewis, including three straight first-round defeats. The Bengals are one of six teams in NFL history to lose in their first playoff game three straight years. No team in NFL history has ever lost in its first postseason game four consecutive years.