The Cincinnati Bengals hadn't won a playoff game in 19 years, and they will have to wait one more as the New York Jets are going to the 2nd round! On paper, the primary edge the Bengals had heading into the game was at quarterback. Well, Mark Sanchez thoroughly outplayed Carson Palmer, and largely as a result, the Jets beat the Bengals 24-14.
Sanchez set an NFL rookie record with an 80% completion percentage. 12/15 for 182 yards and a touchdown isn't amazing, but he did everything the Jets asked of him. His numbers would look even better if Braylon Edwards catches a wide open touchdown pass in the first quarter. Edwards would have been the goat, and boy, did I want to kill him after he dropped that pass, but Sanchez, the defense, and Shonn Greene saved the day.
Greene, not Thomas Jones, was the Jets' lead back with 21 carries for 135 yards. Jones only had 34 yards on 15 carries, and the Wildcat was a non-factor, but Greene was a monster with the football, running over and past defenders en route to a big game. He is the 3rd rookie back to rush for 100+ yards in the playoffs, joining Jamal Lewis and Joseph Addai.
Dustin Keller was Sanchez's lead target with 3 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. Keller had a phenomenal game, breaking open down the sideline for his first touchdown and making a big play in the open field to set up Jay Feely's field goal that essentially iced the game.
The defense only allowed 14 points, but Shayne Graham helped them out a lot by missing two short field goals. For the Bengals he is the primary goat, but he wasn't why they lost. Cedric Benson had a huge day with 169 yards on 21 carries. He was the only difference maker on offense for the Bengals, as Chad Ochocinco was completely shut down by Darrelle Revis. Revis was called for three penalties, but two were terrible calls, which is something the Jets had to deal with throughout the game, but they overcame it.
One of the subplots of the game was Jay Feely who was forced into punting duty as Steve Weatherford fell ill before the game. Feely only averaged 31.4 yards on his seven punts, but three were downed inside the 20. He made his only field goal of the game, something Graham couldn't do, and he would have made another long one if it hadn't been called back by not one but two penalties.
More reaction will come later, but what a fantastic game for the Jets. They're going to Indianapolis if New England wins and San Diego if Baltimore wins. If the Jets are facing Indianapolis, the game will be next Saturday at 8:15 PM. If the Jets go to San Diego, the game will be Sunday at 4:40 PM.