It was downright ugly Sunday night in the final regular season game of 2009 as the Jets blanked the Bengals 37-0 in front of a raucous sold out crowd. Even old Bengal Chris Collinsworth, who as NBC analyst is required to be unbiased, could not contain his disdain at the effort put out by the Bengals.
“I think Marvin Lewis is getting mad” he said.
In what will likely be the final NFL game played at The Meadowlands, the Jets took a 7-0 lead on the opening possession of the game and never looked back, amassing an astounding 257 rushing yards against the No. 2 rushing defense in the league. Even more astonishing was the play of the Jets defense, holding Cincinnati’s offense to a woeful 72 yards of total offense, and zero net passing yards.
The score tied for the record for the most lopsided defeat in Bengals franchise history, and secured a playoff spot and rematch next week for the Jets.
“The good thing is we get another chance, another opportunity, to go out and prove ourselves and compete” QB Carson Palmer said, after finishing the game 1-for-10 with 0 yards and an interception. Palmer was pulled early in the third quarter when the score reached 30-0. Back-up J.T. O’Sullivan finished 3-for-8 for 31 yards and 2 fumbles.
The first Jet score of the night came courtesy of a one-yard plunge by RB Thomas Jones. The play of the drive was a 57-yard QB keeper by wildcat QB Brad Smith.
After a Bengals punt, the Jets were able to drive down to the Cincinnati 2-yard line before settling for a Jay Feely FG to open up a two score lead. The Bengals never recovered.
Brad Smith scored on another wildcat run, this time from 32 yards out to make it 17-0, and then on their very next drive, WR Jerricho Cotchery took a swing pass from QB Mark Sanchez 6 yards into the end zone and a 24-0 advantage with 44 ticks left in the first half.
The Bengals offense came out onto the field to try to salvage something before the break, but Carson Palmer’s pass on 1st down at the Bengals’ 40-yard line was intercepted by CB Dwight Lowery, setting up another Feely FG as the first half came to a close.
Feely added another FG in the third quarter, and Jones added another touchdown dive from 2 yards out to cap the scoring, and a complete victory over the stunned and shaken Bengals.
“Obviously, this is a huge win for us and it was a total team effort. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an offense really control the ball the way ours did in that first quarter into the wind” said Jets coach Rex Ryan.
While the Jets needed a victory to secure a playoff spot, the Bengals had only the 3rd seed in the playoffs to play for. While Bengals coach Marvin Lewis proclaimed that it was their intention to win the game all week, he did keep several starters on the bench and inactive for the game, including RB Cedric Benson, TE J.P. Foschi, DT Domata Peko, DE Robert Geathers, and S Chris Croker. All were recovering from various injuries and will be available for next week’s playoff game.
There had been concern all week in Cincinnati, as in other cities where playoff spots had already been secured, about exposing starters to potential injuries, and Lewis clearly was trying to avoid that with his inactive list. Unfortunately, the Bengals still suffered some injuries to key contributors in the game as WR Chad Ochocinco and S Tom Nelson injured knees, and DT Pat Sims broke his arm. Sims is out for the remainder of the season. Ochocinco and Nelson look to be back next week.
The Jets have to feel confident about their chances next week, having dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball all night. They ran the ball effectively, converted 11 of 18 third down attempts, and had an incredible 23-minute edge in time of possession. The Bengals have a week to lick their wounds, study the tape and prepare for the rematch at home.
“Across the board there really wasn’t much good, but I’m sure we’re going to go look at this film. It’s going to be tough to swallow,” Palmer said, “It’s a film we’re going to have to watch over and over as we prepare for this game.”
Kickoff for the rematch is scheduled for the first game of wildcard weekend, next Saturday at 4:30 PM. The game will be televised by NBC.
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