Monday, October 13, 2008

Jets defeat Bengals 26-14 in war of attrition

Sunday the New York Jets beat the Cincinnati Bengals 26-14 in a strange football game. The Bengals simply could not run the ball, looking completely inept offensively. A strip-sack of Brett Favre returned for a touchdown gave them an early 7-0 lead, but the Jets answered with a quick touchdown. A huge drive by Favre and the Jets after giving the Bengals a jolt of energy and an early lead on the road. It took the momentum away from Cincinnati and made the game even. Of course, they had to score three times (after the first two scores were taken off due to penalties), but Thomas Jones eventually got into the end zone for his first of three scores.

Then Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chris Perry, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and Chad Ocho Cinco took the field.

It was not pretty.

Perry and Cedric Benson simply could not run at all against the Jets' suddenly stout run defense, leaving Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the offense singlehandedly, and for most of the first half, it was embarrassing to watch. The joke was on the Jets, however, when Fitzpatrick capped off a scoring drive at the end of the 2nd quarter with a QB sneak in the only first half drive in which they even got a first down.

One drive and one defensive play made the Bengals just three points behind at halftime, but the offense squandered decent field position on their first drive. Another impressive performance by the defense, not letting the winless Bengals get back-to-back scoring drives which could have given them immense confidence. Cincinnati was shut out for the rest of the game.

The Jets were unable to take advantage of fantastic field position on numerous occasions. They started five drives in Bengals' territory, but they struggled to convert on 3rd downs early, and Favre threw two interceptions on jump-balls that Jerricho Cotchery could not come down with, killing two probable scoring drives. At one point they were 1-7 on 3rd downs, until the final 10 play, 41 yard drive that took 6:18 of the remaining 8:40 off the clock put the Bengals away for good.

Jones scored three touchdowns, two rushing and one receiving, making this his most productive game as a Jet statistically, but he only ran for 65 yards on 17 carries. Brad Smith, Chansi Stuckey, and Laveranues Coles all took handoffs on end-arounds or reverses, totaling 15 yards. Leon Washington took five carries for just seven yards, while Jesse Chatman saw his first action as a Jet with one carry and one reception.

Favre ended up 25-33 for 189 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, and 1 key fumble. It was his worst game as a Jet, but it seemed like Brian Schottenheimer was playing the game pretty close to the vest, not allowing the Bengals' defense to make any more plays that could pick up their offense. The two interceptions weren't horrible, but they are still turnovers. Coles and Cotchery had 8 catches each, for 61 and 65 yards respectively. Leon Washington, Jones, Chris Baker, and Chatman also had receptions.

Abram Elam led the defense with six tackles in his one-game stint as starter, replacing the suspended Eric Smith. Calvin Pace, Hank Poteat, David Harris, Eric Barton, and Bryan Thomas combined for five sacks, and Pace and Poteat both forced fumbles as well. The Bengals offense was putrid, but give the Jets defense credit for only allowing the one touchdown drive. For the rest of the game, Cincinnati could barely get first downs, much less touchdowns.

Jay Feely made both of his field goals, giving Jets fans reason to have confidence in him until Mike Nugent returns, whenever that ends up being. Reggie Hodges punted just twice, with a 37.0 yard net, but both had good hangtime and one was fair caught at the 4 yard line.

Next up is Oakland on the road this coming Sunday, but I should have more reaction on this game later.

And did I mention I went 3-0 for the second straight week on my picks?

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