Bengals QB Carson Palmer drops back during the Bengals' 38-31 win against the Jets on Sunday.
After paying tribute to the old New York Titans last week, the New York Jets returned to their current green and white threads as they headed into Paul Brown Stadium to do battle with the equally desperate Cincinnati Bengals.
In the beginning of the game the Jets returned to the kind of football they were used to playing last year. However, the game became a tale of two halves. Everything the Jets did right in the first half, they did the exact opposite in the second, as Cincinnati came back to win 38-31.
Chad Pennington, who was rumored to be on a very short leash coming into today’s game started off great, connecting twice to Laveranues Coles for touchdowns. Pennington was 20-for-31 yards with 272 yards and three touchdowns, and Coles had eight catches for 133 yards to go with the two scores. His efforts, though, went all for naught as he threw a game-ending interception that was returned for a touchdown.
Judging by look on head coach Eric Mangini’s face in his post-game presser, seeing his team in this position is finally taking a toll on him.
“I am tired of giving the same speech,” he said. “I’m tired of my team playing just one half of football. It’s just not good enough, and I am tired of giving the same speech.”
With that loss, the voices calling for Kellen Clemens to be the new starting quarterback grew even louder after today’s game. Coles, though, stood up for the vet, despite his struggles.
“It isn’t just Chad, you can’t blame one guy,” he spoke. “There are 11 guys out there giving it all out on the field. If you want to go after someone, just go after all of us and say ‘We stink’.”
The Jets jumped to an early lead when Pennington connected with Coles for a 57 yard touchdown. The Bengals attempted to respond when Carson Palmer threw a 56 yard pass to Chad Johnson into Jets territory and rushing game pushed forward. The Jets held their ground, forcing a Shayne Graham field goal to make it 7-3 Jets.
After Mike Nugent kicked a field goal in front of his hometown crowd to extend the lead, the defense came up huge. Hank Poteat intercepted a Palmer pass intended for T.J. Houshmandzadeh, giving possession back to Gang Green. The Jets nearly had a touchdown when Pennington threw high for Coles in the end zone. Bengals rookie Leon Hall, though, was there to break up the opportunity. Nugent added another three points to give New York a 13-3 lead.
The Bengals threatened to cut the lead as a Palmer threw deep strikes that were caught by his receivers and RB Kenny Watson pushed forward. Watson, who was playing in place of the injured Rudi Johnson, cut through New York for three yards for the touchdown, cutting the deficit to three.
With the first half near its end, the Jets made sure to have a sizable lead heading into the locker room. After a Bengals penalty gave them an extra five yards, Pennington threw a short pass to Coles, who broke through the Cincinnati defense for a 36 yard touchdown. The score gave New York a 20-10 lead.
Then the second half came, along with the nightmares. The Jets added to their lead with a Nugent field goal, making the score 23-10 in favor of the Jets. Unfortunately for New York, that would be the only points they scored until the end of the game.
“It should hurt deeply and we’re going to find out about the character of every single one in that locker room. Coaches, players, everybody,” Mangini vociferously replied.
Cincinnati went into the red zone on their offensive possession thanks to Darrelle Revis’ pass interference. The penalty proved costly for the Jets as Cincinnati as Palmer threw to Houshmandzadeh for a touchdown, shrinking New York’s lead to six.
The offense of New York looked to get more points on the board, but came up empty and was forced to punt. Ben Graham didn’t help their cause either as he shanked a punt for 20 yards into the Cincinnati 43 yard line.
Revis’ was caught again with pass interference, giving Cincinnati more than a chance to score. After Glenn Holt caught a pass at the one yard line, Kenny Watson registered a touchdown for the Bengals. Shayne Graham’s extra point gave them their first lead of the game 24-23, bringing the crowd of alive for the first time all day.
It was the Jets’ turn to make something of their drive. Chad Pennington an early spark when he escaped a potential Cincinnati sack and dove for a first down. A roughing the passer penalty on the Bengals allowed the drive to continue further. However, it all came crashing down as Nick Mangold snapped too early, causing a fumble that Cincinnati recovered.
The bad luck continued over to an already-troubled defense. The Jets appeared to have an interception by Darrelle Revis, but it was decreed by the refs that Glenn Holt had the reception by virtue of the simultaneous catch rule. Abram Elam’s boneheaded unnecessary roughness penalty made things worse. Kenny Watson then rushed for his third touchdown of the day, giving them a 31-23 lead.
“That game was the epitome of our season,” said Pennington. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, and we never switched that momentum back in our favor in the second half.”
The Jets offense became grossly offensive to the senses of their fans as their series produced nothing but embarrassment, culminating with a Bengals sack on Pennington. The sack whipped the Cincinnati crowd into a frenzy.
“There’s definitely a lot of frustration,” Jets LB Victor Hobson said. “We are better than what the record indicates, but you got to show that talent on the field.”
Pennington made short tosses to his receivers to push the Jets forward, but the last two plays of the game ended any chance for a Jets comeback. Pennington was sacked for a loss of six yards, and followed that up with an interception by Johnathan Joseph, who returned it 42 yards for the touchdown, sealing New York’s, and probably Pennington’s, fate. Jerricho Cotchery’s touchdown catch on a Hail Mary pass from Pennington only prolonged the inevitable.
“If we want to win, we got to play two halves of football,” said Hobson. “You got to give Cincinnati credit. They came out in the second half, played well, and were victorious. It’s rough to digest.”
While the Bengals were breathing sighs of relief on the other sideline, the season for the Jets, now 1-6, appears to be over. Even if they go on a long win-streak, it will still not be enough, especially in an AFC where winning the bare minimum is no longer acceptable. One thing is certain, though. As of right now, no job is safe and changes will most certainly be made.
“I will evaluate each position from top to bottom,” he stated.
INSIDER GAME TIDBITS
Poteat Sweet in Defeat
Last week against Philadelphia, Hank Poteat notched his first career interception. Against the Bengals, he picked off Carson Palmer for the second of his career in the second quarter. Poteat ripped the ball out of the hands of the intended receiver T. J. Houshmandzadeh. He also thought to have a potential touchdown going as he raced down to Cincinnati territory. The referees didn’t buy it, though, and said that he was down on contact by Houshmandzadeh. Poteat had four tackles as well.
It has been a special two weeks for Poteat, who started his career in Pittsburgh and played a small yet important role in New England’s Super Bowl run in the 2004 season. His efforts, unfortunately, went for naught in both of those games.
There was a little bit of controversy near the end of the first half as the referees reviewed Kenny Holt’s diving catch. Not only did the head official rule that the catch stood, but tacked a second on the game clock and said that it will start on his signal. This gave Cincinnati eight seconds to get one more play off. Initially there was confusion amongst all involved before the head official reiterated his orders.
The next play proved to be even more astonishing to the home crowd. Carson Palmer, being rushed by the Jets defense, threw the ball directly on the ground, provoking an intentional grounding penalty. On the penalty, the referee decreed not only a loss of down, but also a ten second runoff. Since the incompletion stopped the clock at one second, the half was officially over by rule.
The calls clearly agitated the Bengals as they argued with the refs all the way to their locker room. The home crowd in Cincinnati was also irritated, booing the refs loudly over the calls.
Certain players on both the Jets and Bengals squads stepped up in Sunday’s game in place of some injured regulars.
The guy that stepped up for the Jets was TE Sean Ryan, who played in place of Chris Baker. Ryan had 3 receptions for 46 yards. Two of his receptions were for 22 yards and set up scoring drives for Gang Green.
But the game ball certainly goes to Cincinnati RB Kenny Watson who rose to the challenge. Playing in place of starter Rudi Johnson, Watson proved to be more than capable against a maligned New York rushing defense, attaining 31 carries for 130 yards and three touchdowns. He also had three catches for 27 yards.
The following players were inactive for today’s game:
Jets: TE Chris Baker, QB Marques Tuiasosopo, T Jacob Bender, WR David Clowney, DE Mike DeVito, CB Andre Dyson, G Will Montgomery, TE Jason Pociask
Bengals: RB Rudi Johnson, LB Ahmad Brooks, LB Caleb Miller, QB Jeff Rowe, CB David Jones, LB Corey Mays, C Dan Santucci, WR Antonio Chatman
Notes & Highlights
David Barrett had a very hard hit in the first quarter on T.J. Houshmandzadeh after the Bengals WR made a reception.
Bryan Thomas registered a sack on Palmer to end the Bengals’ first offensive possession.
After catching a Pennington pass near the end of the first quarter, Laveranues Coles lost a shoe as he was tackled by Anthony Schlegel.
Coles moved past Carl Pickens on the NFL’s All-Time Reception Leaders list.
A little humor was added on the Jets’ final offensive drive as Pennington attempted a pass to TE Joe Kowalewski. The ball hit him square in the helmet before he was knocked down by a Cincinnati defender.
An illegal substitution penalty on the Jets in the third quarter was the first penalty for the Jets in the game.
Kenny Watson’s 130 yards rushing marked the fourth consecutive game that the Jets’ rushing defense gave up over 100 yards to an opposing individual running back. Miami’s Ronnie Brown, Brandon Jacobs of the Giants, and Philly’s Brian Westbrook each had over 100 rushing yards against the Jets. In six of the seven games played this season, the rushing defense gave up more than 100 yards.
Post game notes
-The Jets lead the regular season series with the Bengals 12-7, 13-7 counting the postseason. The loss snaps a five-game winning streak vs. the Bengals, dating back to 9/9/90.
-The 57-yard touchdown pass from Chad Pennington to Laveranues Coles on the third play from scrimmage was the Jets longest pass play of the season.
-Coles’ 36-yard touchdown reception from Pennington in the second quarter was his second of the game. It’s the sixth multi-touchdown game of Coles’ career and second of the season.
-Pennington and Coles have now connected for 18 touchdown passes, the most of any receiver among Pennington’s 80 touchdown throws.
-Coles now has six touchdowns this season, matching his total in 2006. He has 30 as a Jet, moving him into ninth place on the Jets all-time list and he now has 37 touchdown receptions in his career.
-Coles finished the game with 133 receiving yards on eight catches, the 19th time in his career he has recorded more than 100 yards receiving and the first time this season.
-Coles now has 547 career receptions, vaulting him into 71st place on the NFL all-time receptions list. Today he passed Kellen Winslow Sr., Eric Metcalf, former Jet Jeff Graham, Lance Alworth, J.T. Smith and John L. Williams. Coles now has 7,059 career receiving yards.
-Thomas Jones totaled 67 yards on 19 carries, increasing his career total to 5,871 yards, an amount that ranks 70th on the NFL all-time rushing list. Today he passed Bill Brown, James Stewart and Steve Van Buren. He is four yards behind Larry Brown (5,875) for 69th all-time.
-The three-play, 80-yard drive (1:20) on the Jets first drive of the game was the first time the Jets scored a touchdown on their opening drive this season. The Jets have now scored on their opening drive in each of the last two weeks.
-With the four-yard completion to Jerricho Cotchery in the first quarter, Chad Pennington eclipsed 13,000 passing yards in his career. Pennington finished the game 20-of-31 passing for 272 yards and three touchdowns. Pennington was 10-of-14 passing for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the first half for a passer rating of 151.3.
-TE Sean Ryan’s 22-yard pass reception on the Jets first offensive play from scrimmage was Ryan’s first reception of the season and seventh of his career. The 22-yarder was also the longest reception of Ryan’s career. Ryan matched that with another 22-yard reception on the first play of the second half. Ryan finished with three catches for 46 yards, both are career single-game bests for Ryan.
-The 15-play, 78-yard drive that lasted 9:09 and culminated in Mike Nugent’s 24-yard field goal is the Jets longest drive of the season by time and ties their longest drive by plays this season. The Jets had a 15-play, 74-yard drive that lasted 7:36 vs. Miami this season, culminating in Chad Pennington’s two-yard touchdown run.
-CB Hank Poteat’s second-quarter interception was his second in two games and the second of his eight-year career.
-LB Bryan Thomas sacked Carson Palmer to end the Bengals opening drive of the game. Thomas now has 1.5 sacks on the season.
-WR Jerricho Cotchery had six catches for 60 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the game that marked his first receiving touchdown of the season.
-The successful two-point conversion, Chad Pennington’s pass to Leon Washington, was the first successful two-point try since Pennington hit Anthony Becht at Oakland (11/9/03). The Jets last attempted a two-point conversion in 2005.
-Abram Elam made his first career start at safety. Hank Poteat (cornerback) and Sean Ryan (tight end) made their first starts of the season.
Buffalo On Deck
The Jets will look to find some light on a season that is all but lost when once again, they host the Buffalo Bills at the Meadowlands.