Ross was a nonfactor in his first game back since his injury in Week 2 and played only six offensive snaps against the Colts. He has played a total of 11 snaps this season.
“John got to dress [Sunday] because I chose to suit him up, and Cody [Core] couldn’t go," said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. "He’ll continue to practice and get an opportunity as it goes. But he was not part of the plan going into the game.”
Ross, who has been nursing a knee injury, finally got back on the field after practicing for the past two weeks. However, even though the Bengals were down two receivers due to Core's and Tyler Boyd's injuries, the Bengals still had five receivers active between A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell, Alex Erickson, Josh Malone and Ross.
Malone, a fourth-round pick this season, was a healthy scratch for the first five games before making his debut last week due to injuries. He caught his first career touchdown on Sunday. Even though he has not played much, his availability in practice and ability to play special teams has clearly moved him ahead of Ross in the pecking order for now.
Ross' plays so far:
An 8-yard gain on a jet sweep in his preseason debut vs. the Redskins.
Two incomplete passes from Andy Dalton vs. the Redskins.
A 6-yard pass from AJ McCarron vs. the Colts in Week 4 of the preseason.
A 25-yard gain on a jet sweep vs. the Colts, which resulted in a knee injury.
A 12-yard gain on a jet sweep vs. the Texans that resulted in a fumble. Ross saw only a few plays after the fumble and re-injured his knee that week.
An incomplete pass from Dalton vs. the Colts in the regular season.
Lewis had said prior to the game that Ross would not have a snap limit, but they wouldn't play him just for the sake of playing him.
"We're not just getting him in to get him in, "Lewis said. "We would have to make sure we have a role and ... the most important thing is that he's physically and mentally. ... I think he's done a great job of trying to stay with us and stay in tune. Obviously he wants to play if he gets an opportunity."