CINCINNATI – Second-year wide receiver Alex Erickson had a team-high three catches for a team-best 50 yards in the Cincinnati Bengals’s 23-12 victory over Tampa Bay in a pre-season opener at Paul Brown Stadium on Friday, Aug. 11.
Erickson, a 6’0” 195-lbs. graduate of Darlington High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, added one rush for three yards and one punt return for one yard in the game.
Erickson had a 9-yard catch on a third-down play late in the first half to set up a makeable field goal attempt, and rookie kicker Jake Elliott connected on a 45-yard field goal to cut the Bengals’ deficit to 9-6.
Erickson added a pair of clutch 20-yard catches on the first two drives of the second half, which both ended in touchdowns. His 20-yard reception on the Bengals’ first drive of the third quarter helped set up an 18-yard touchdown run by third-string quarterback Jeff Driskel that put the hosts ahead to stay, and his leaping 21-yard grab on the second drive led to an 8-yard TD strike from Driskel to rookie Josh Malone to extend the lead to 20-12.
When asked after the game if he still had something to prove following a successful rookie season as the Bengals’ kickoff and punt return, Erickson replied, “Absolutely. I don’t think that will ever change. This league is just so competitive. There are so many talented guys around the league. There’s competition every day– I know that.”
Cincinnati hosts Kansas City in their second pre-season game on Saturday, Aug. 19. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CST.