Adam Gase’s group took several steps back against what is normally a giving defense. The Jets came in averaging 34 points a game during their three-game winning streak and they didn’t get in the red zone once. They didn’t score in the second half. They never established the run. Sam Darnold was under pressure throughout the game as the offensive line struggled after showing improvement the last few weeks. The line also committed seven penalties, killing potential scoring drives. The Jets almost got in the red zone in the third quarter, but an illegal block in the back penalty negated a 23-yard gain. The Jets didn’t score on that drive.
They weren’t as bad as the offense, but Gregg Williams’ group wasn’t as dominant as they have been recently. Andy Dalton had all the time in the world to make plays. He faced next to no pressure. The Jets sacked Dalton just once, but he was effective, leading the Bengals on two touchdown drives. Cincinnati hadn’t scored more than one touchdown in a game since Week 7. The 22 points the Bengals scored were their second-highest total of the season. Jamal Adams got hurt early in the game and played through it, but he didn’t have his usual impact. The Jets’ secondary had a rough day. The Jets also allowed their first rushing touchdown in seven games. But it was set up by a 39-yard pass interference penalty by linebacker Neville Hewitt.
They accounted for the Jets’ only points. Sam Ficken hit a pair of field goals. But two of the Jets’ 10 penalties on the day were on the special teams, which gave the offense poor field position. That was a major issue for the Jets. Their average starting field position was the 18-yard line. Five times they started from inside the 15. The Bengals average starting field position was the 36.
It’s never good when you give two winless teams their first victories deep into the season. The Jets looked like the team from earlier in the season: too many penalties, poor line play, ineptitude on offense and really questionable play-calling. The Bengals came in allowing a league-high 166 rushing yards a game. The Jets finished with 62. Gase called 25 passing plays to just 10 run plays in the first half. The Jets were averaging 4.5 yards per carry, so maybe Gase should have run more, especially considering the many dropped passes by Jets receivers.