Let's hop into the time machine and take a look at what happened the last time the Jets and the Bengals squared off to start the NFL season.
The year was 2004. The opener was at the old stadium in the Meadowlands. The quarterbacks were Chad Pennington for the Jets and Carson Palmer making his first NFL start for Cincinnati.
The season began on a less than stellar note for the Jets as Jonathan Carter fumbled away the opening kickoff, setting up a 9 yard Rudi Johnson touchdown run to give Cincy an early 7-0 lead. Carter redeemed himself, however, bringing in a 46 yard touchdown pass from Chad Pennington, one of the quarterback's two first quarter touchdown tosses to give the Jets a 14-7 lead after one. A quiet second quarter saw only a Shayne Graham field goal. The Jets led 14-10 at the half.
The biggest play of the game might have come on the first drive of the third quarter as Sam Cowart forced a Johnson fumble that Donnie Abraham returned 41 yards for a Jets touchdown. It was one of 14 tackles for Cowart on the day. The Jets went into 2004 hoping a move to inside linebacker would rejuvenate the veteran's career. As it turned out, he would get injured early in the season and supplanted in the lineup by rookie Jonathan Vilma. He had his day against the Bengals, though.
The Bengals struck back with an 11 play touchdown drive capped by a 6 yard pass from Palmer to Kenny Watson for a score, cutting the New York lead to 21-17.
The Jets followed with 10 unanswered, capped by a Curtis Martin 24 yard touchdown run, to take a 31-17 lead. It was part of a 196 day on the ground for Martin, the start of a season that would see him win the league rushing title.
The Bengals weren't done as Palmer found Chad Johnson for a 53 yard touchdown to cut the New York lead to a touchdown. Cincy then got a defensive stop to give the offense chance, but it wasn't meant to be for the Bengals.
Toby Gowin pinned the Bengals inside the 5 with a punt. Erik Coleman intercepted Palmer on the first play after the two minute warning, and a couple of Martin first down runs forced the Bengals to use their timeouts. Pennington kneeled to run out the clock, and the Jets had a season opening win.