The New York Jets continued their string of unimpressive victories Thanksgiving night defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 26-10 in the New Meadowlands Stadium. Most of the scoring came on two plays, both by Brad Smith who ran an end around for 53 yards to start off the third quarter and then took a kickoff in the fourth quarter and ran it 89 yards to the house. Other than that, the defense played well for a change while special teams were wildly inconsistent blocking well for the Brad Smith TD, and intelligently jumping on a loose ball to give the Jets possession at the Cincinnati 14, but also making a series of blunders including two blocking fouls on Cromartie, a series of inexplicably short kickoffs that gave the Bengals great field position, a missed 44 yarder, and a Weatherford punt blocked by Mauga, a Jet. All in all, it was not a win that will strike fear in the hearts of teams that will face the Jets in future weeks.
For those of you who expect me to be annoyed about play calling, I won’t disappoint you. The Bengals came into the game with a patchwork secondary having had to fill in for massive injuries to both their safeties and their numbers 2,3 and 4 corners. They were giving guys tryouts at the Burger King over the Rhine in Cincy this week. One would have thought, under the circumstances, that the Jets would throw deep against this team and they did—five whole times. For the record, of those five attempts, one was caught for 23 yards (add a personal foul to make that one 38 yards), one was caught for 23, and one 16 yards. The last such pass was caught by Braylon Edwards thirty yards down the field but he lost track of his feet and was out of bounds with a toe. There was also one incomplete pass. That’s 77 yards on three completions, and it should have been at least another thirty. All the rest of Sanchez’s passes were short—twenty-three of them. That’s 23 short passes while Bengals corners were falling down all over the field, literally.
You explain it. I can’t.
As for the run, there were some questionable decisions made there also. Some might say, 2nd and 24 is probably a bad place to try to run the ball, but hey, we’re not coaches. In the fourth quarter, protecting a lead, one might argue that it’s time to run, but there was still no commitment to it, as the OC called passes on third down on two straight possessions, then ran on third and ten on the next possession. None of the third downs was converted giving the Bengals opportunities they didn’t deserve.
Oh, by the way, third down efficiency was 3 for 13, but then again, they were playing against a 2-8 team that gave up 49 points to the Buffalo Bills last week.
Mark Sanchez had an off night with several passes batted down, an ugly pick and a coverage sack. These last two depredations were his own fault for holding the ball too long and then trying to be Superman instead of throwing the ball away. Even Joe Theismann, who often provides color by biting down too hard on his foot in his mouth, criticized Sanchez correctly after the unnecessary INT. By the way, could there be a worse couple of broadcasters than Theismann and Matt Millen (a man who cannot even change planes in Michigan). They give new meaning to the phrase “opening one’s mouth and saying nothing.” Millen, particulary, has a real mastery of the obvious.
Penalties continued to plague the Jets although Bart Scott didn’t get his weekly personal foul call in the first quarter in tonight’s game. Luckily, Braylon Edwards got his weekly block in the back call. Over all, eight more penalties, although the personal foul that led to the Cincinnati touchdown was completely bogus. Still, another sloppy, sloppy game.
On the defense, the one bright spot besides Brad Smith, there was some nice work being done. The defensive line got a fair amount of pressure and there were quite a few hurries and QB hits (fifteen I think), along with three sacks. They also only gave up 46 yards on the ground. Trevor Pryce sacked Palmer in the end zone for a safety. Gholston (I can’t believe it either), is starting to make his presence known, also, although I didn’t see him much in the second half. David Harris had a good game against the run, but was a non-entity covering the pass. As for the secondary, Ochocinco and Terrrell Owens were non factors, thanks to nice work by Revis and Cromartie. Cromartie added one of the two picks. Jimmy Leonhard also showed improvement and Brod Pool made a nice stop in the end zone. Terrell Owens, for what it’s worth, is an average receiver (he had 17 yards on three catches).
So, ups and downs. A win is a win. Still, they did everything they could to use the Denver game plan and it worked just as poorly against the Bengals as against the Broncos. The Jets won, but I don’t know how Jets’ fans can feel like their team performed well.