The Jets beat the Bengals today at the Meadowlands by a score of 26-14. The win made New York the AFC East's third team over .500, right in the middle of the race. The triumph was by no means as pretty as the one that came against the Cardinals two weeks ago. This victory had as much to do with the Bengals as it did with the Jets. It all counts the same in the standings.
Total Defensive Effort: The Bengals put together only a single sustained drive all game. That was for a touchdown right before the half. Aside from that, the Bengals did very little to move it all game, gaining only 171 yards. Kris Jenkins was again a force in the middle of the 3-4 set. Linemen within this system are responsible to take up two gaps on the offensive line. Jenkins took up three gaps at times in this contest and always seemed to get a good push. The Bengals ran for only 44 yards primarily because of the disruption Jenkins caused on their offensive line. Jenkins was not alone among defensive standouts, however. The entire defense did the job. Ryan Fitzpatrick took over 10 hits, including 4 sacks. He had no time to throw whenever the Jets blitzed. He was forced to dump the ball off against a defense playing a lot of zone to prevent big plays. Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh got theirs, combining for 12 catches, but they were unable to do much to help an anemic offensive attack. The Bengals are a lousy offensive team without Carson Palmer, and the Jets took full advantage. This is a building game.
Leon Washington's Returns: Neon Leon gave his offense a short field and helped the Jets win the field position battle with a 46 yard kickoff return and an average of 15 yards on 5 punt returns. When the Dolphins took Ted Ginn in the 2007 Draft, they reasoned his work in the return game was like giving the offense a fifth down. It is safe to say that the Jets are at that point with Leon.
Leon Washington on Offense: Washington got nine touches on offense. The 29 total yards on offense do not look very impressive, but it is good to see Brian Schottenheimer incorporate him more in the game plan. Leon is dangerous in space as he showed with a big 12 yard reception in the second half to pick up a first down. He is always a threat with the football in his hands. Even if defenses slow him down on most plays, it behooves the Jets to increase his touches as the season wears on due to his explosiveness.
Favre's Efficiency: A lot of people who saw the game seemed to have a different impression, but I was very pleased by Brett Favre's play. He hit 25 of his 33 passes. These only totaled 189 yards, but it showed that Brett is comfortable checking down and taking what defenses give him if nothing big is there. Favre is learning the progressions when he makes reads. He did have three turnovers, but one must put them into perspective. The first was a fumble on a sack. The other two were interceptions. Neither was a bad read. His receivers were in matchups where he gave his receiver a chance to make a play. Some quarterbacks will not make those throws, but Brett trusted his receivers to go get the ball. That is a good sign. Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles both had 8 catches. There were no major mixups on routes. This might not have been his best game, but we saw a lot of signs that Brett is getting really comfortable, which is a good sign.
Thomas Jones: Jones had a pair of rushing touchdowns, equaling his total in his first twenty games with the Jets. He also had a touchdown grab, making him a standout performer and a fantasy star.
Jay Feely: Feely finally had a good game with a pair of field goals in excess of 40 yards. Just watch. The week Feely finally earns his keep will be the week Mike Nugent returns and gets him cut.
Reggie Hodges: The new punter pinned the Bengals inside the 5 on his first kick with the team.
Titans Uniforms: Had the team played as well wearing these uniforms in the 1960's as it has in the past two games, it would probably still be known as the Titans.
Running Game: The Jets only ran for 3.2 yards per carry. The bigger issue is the play calling of Brian Schottenheimer. The Bengals have one of the worst interior defensive lines in the league. They were starting a backup defensive tackle. Instead of pounding Thomas Jones inside constantly, which was relatively successful, there were too many sweeps, stretches, and end arounds. Schottenheimer got too cute. Brandon Moore is struggling a bit at right guard, but this team needs to start utilizing its offensive line talent and start pounding other teams.
Some might deride this win as "ugly," but there is no such thing as an ugly win in the NFL. The Redskins sure would have loved an ugly win against the Rams today. The Jets today should remind us of the NCAA Basketball Tournament axiom, "survive and advance." The most important thing is getting a win. The team can take mostly positives from this contest.