Black Friday indeed. Bengals fans are woke up today to the team’s eighth straight loss, and their third to the Jets in eleven months. And for the third time in eleven months, they could not stop one player: back-up QB and special teamer Brad Smith.
Smith carved up Cincinnati for 14 of the Jets 26 points in the 26 to 10 defeat of the Bengals Thanksgiving night. Smith scored on an end-around run of 53 yards to give the Jets a 10-7 lead early in the third. The play was similar to ones he had made against Cincinnati last year in which he found a gap down the left side, zipped through it, and took off up the field with Bengal defenders taking horrible angles.
Later in the game, after the Bengals had pulled to within 17-10 in the fourth, Smith took the ensuing kick-off and raced 89 yards for a knockout punch. Again, poor angles and an apparent underestimation of Smith’s speed cost the Bengals.
You’d think they had enough tape on the kid.
It would be easy to blame the loss on Smith, but the Bengals once again found interesting ways to bail out their opponents, eliminate their own opportunities, and generally hand over the football game on a silver platter.
They missed a chip-shot 27-yard field goal after they got a turnover (Mark Sanchez interception) in Jets territory. Aaron Pettrey has now missed two easy kicks in as many weeks. Then there was Carson Palmer’s interception in the end zone that eliminated at least another score.
One Jet touchdown, a 13-yard pass from Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes, came courtesy of a botched punt. After a great defensive stand, Sean Weatherford’s kick hit WR Andre Caldwell who was blocking, and the Jets recovered, setting them up in the red zone. The extra drive set up the Holmes score, and eliminated a Bengals possession.
The coup de gras, however, was Carson Palmer being called for a sack by referee Mike Carey in the end zone for a safety. It was intentional grounding according to the replay (terrible blocking).
Marvin Lewis seemed to concede defeat when down by two touchdowns, the Bengals punted with just 3:50 left and no time-outs. The Jets were able to pick a first down in three running plays—yet another game in which the defense knew the opposing offense would run it and still couldn’t stop it—and the Jets ran out the clock.
The Jets had barely escaped with wins against the lowly Lions, Browns, and Texans by using heroics and costly errors by the opponents at the end. They didn’t need such luck against the Bengals, who took care of the costly errors much earlier in the contest. The Bengals are now 0-12 at the Meadowlands (new and old).
- The team has quit. This includes Marvin Lewis. Carson Palmer has no spark, no leadership zeal anymore. T.O. and Ochocinco are too self-absorbed to help right the ship, and the defense has no stars and no strong personalities left. Lewis has the look of the Captain of the Titanic; he’s generally shown staring blankly out at the ruins of what he is responsible for but cannot change. He’s resigned to his fate and simply waiting for it to happen.
- All three phases again failed. The offense had two turnovers, gave up a safety, and generated a paltry 163 total net yards. The defense did their best but gave up over 300 yards to the Jets, 17 of the 26 Jet points, and couldn’t stop them on three straight running plays when everyone in the world knew they were running it. Special teams contributed with a muffed punt, a missed field goal, and a kick-off return for a touchdown.
- At this point, I’m in favor of blowing up the team. This includes Carson Palmer. I still believe him to be an NFL quarterback, but until he generates the passion and the leadership abilities to match his talent, he’ll never lead a team further than the opening round of the playoffs.
What do you think? Is there any hope for the remaining five games? Do you want them to have any success before the season ends? This writer would love to hear something optimistic…
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