Good evening Jets fans, Jets haters, Ochocinco’s amigos, and the Revis bunch. Funny seeing you here – wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago that Rex Ryan said the Jets were out of the playoff picture? Bobby Bonett here to bring you through the action for today’s Wild Card match-up between the Jets and the Bungles … err … Bengals. No Cover it Live today … we’re going old school, so chime in via the comment section below, and I’ll do my darndest to provide color commentary from a non-Redskins bias (sorry, Joe Gibbs and Joe Theismann).
Click here to find today's inactives ... Yes, David Harris is playing. No, Donald Strickland is not.
The Bengals won the toss ... no deferral this week, they will receive. Let's get it started!
(14:51) No positives in 60 minutes last week against the Jets. This week, it took one play. Bernard Scott, who is a playmaker for the Bengals, found that seam thanks to a short, right kick by Feely. As I noted in the preview, he (Feely) hasn't looked nearly as sharp in recent weeks as he did at the beginning of the year. Special teams will play a part this week, and Scott just made the Jets pay for a mistake, putting Cincy in scoring position.
(14:01) First turnover of the game ... Palmer makes back-to-back bad throws. Second throw, Coles made the catch, but dropped the ball. It didn't look like Coles had firm control of the ball, but nonetheless, Jets catching a break early. And how did that play start? Jets sent a blitz package, Palmer needed to get rid of the ball quick. Watch out for pressure today from the New York front.
By the way, best intro? Goes to Lito Sheppard. I thought it was pronounced Lee-Dough. Not Lee-TOE. He made sure to get that hard 't' in the introductions.
Typical NBC game. Three commercial breaks already; injury, turnover, challenge. C'mon, man!
Bad challenge by Marvin Lewis. Looking at the replay, Coles CLEARLY had possession. That could cost the Bengals, both in the challenge and the timeout departments.
(11:13) Delay of game right there: thank Paul Brown Stadium. Smith can run the Tigercat in front of a silent home crowd, but it's tougher in front of a rowdy road fanbase.
(10:30) Tom Hammond's first mispronunciation of Sanchez ... or as Hammond likes to say, San CHEZ. We'll keep tabs on this.
(10:10) Feely punting ... bad news for Gang Green. Short punt gives the Bengals great field position. Weatherford running around on the sidelines with sweatpants on.
Undercard on the Revis/Ochocinco match-up is the Benson/Jones battle between the running backs. The two played together in Chicago and ... well, they weren't the best of friends.
Rod Boone reports that Weatherford has an illness and his return is questionable. Not doing much to disprove that "kickers aren't tough" stigma. It's a playoff game!
(7:55) Rex Ryan's challenge overrules a completion inside the 10. Gibbs and Theismann give props to a nice challenge by Buddy. You mean Rex, gentlemen?
(7:07) Touchdown Coles. He's been targeted four times already. Ochocinco? Once. Jets have a weakness in the secondary beyond Revis. Bengals exploiting it.
CINCINNATI 7, NEW YORK 0
Tiki is on the sideline? That cannot be a good omen.
(4:02) Feely back into punt. Uh-oh. Actually not bad, pins the Bengals at their own 11.
That play to Keller looked like a drop, but not his fault for two reasons. First, there was a slight deflection by the coverage. Second, Sanchez threw the ball behind him. Props to Braylon Edwards on the previous pass making an acrobatic catch for no gain that, in all likelihood, prevented an interception.
rpmpres: can someone tell hammond that is the tigercat please?
Hammond, Gibbs and Theismann will keep this game interesting with their ... uhh ... quips even if it gets out of hand one way or the other.
(1:20) As expected the addition of Peko for the Bengals ... and his hair ... already causing some problems for the Jets run game.
(0:51) Not sure what was more impressive ... Cotchery's "catch" (I say "catch" because it is being reviewed, and it looks like it will stand) or the referee's signaling of a good catch. That was some enthusiasm!
If this play stands, Lewis is in trouble. No challenges left for the game, one timeout left for the half.
Wow. No challenges left for the Bengals with :47 left in the first quarter. That could certainly be a factor.
(0:00) Oops! Nice catch, Braylon.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: CINCINNATI 7, NEW YORK 0
(13:10) Howard Green just did his best Kris Jenkins impression on third down. Stymied the outside, not letting Benson turn the corner and rush for a first down. Jets getting the ball back in Bengals territory.
Comment from around me: "Challenge it, Marvin," after Cotchery fakes a fair catch. Whoops! None left.
(11:52) Great counter play action pitch to Greene for a Jets touchdown. Joe Theismann says great blocking by Dustin Keller. I thought he got beat, defender rolled the wrong way. Regardless, I need to find that play in Madden. Nine of the 11 Bengals were just duped.
CINCINNATI 7, NEW YORK 7
(11:36) Wow, that was a botched call. Push off by Caldwell on Revis, official calls illegal contact on the Jets' defensive back. Let's see if the Bengals can capitalize.
That won't help. False start on Ced.
(8:47) Is it midway through the second quarter, and the Jets still have all three timeouts? By the way, Joe Gibbs just talked about the right side of the Bengals' line's "butts." Uhhh ... thanks, Joe.
And on the next play, Revis picks off a Palmer pass to Ochocinco. That makes one catch for 24, zero catches for 85. Jets ball.
(6:19) Not sure what was most notable about the previous play. Joe Theismann warning that Brad Smith might throw the ball. (Joe, Mark Sanchez was under center). Joe Gibbs referring to Rex Ryan as "Rick Ryan." Or Dustin Keller scoring a touchdown.
Keller carries a defender over 10 yards, Jets take the lead.
NEW YORK 14, CINCINNATI 7
(4:45) Great part about being a shutdown corner: guys like Ochocinco can't contribute offensively. Bad thing about being a shutdown corner: you're under constant surveillance by the referees. Second illegal contact call on Revis. Bengals driving.
(2:35) Delayed blitz by Jim Leonard, he nails Carson Palmer for a sack and a fumble. Bart Scott was picked up on the preliminary blitz, but Leonard followed him in and had a clear shot on Palmer. Bengals will be punting the ball away after a BIG loss.
Bart Scott writhing on the field after fighting for that loose ball.
(2:00) Scott walked off the field. I'm sure he'll be back. He's no punter. (Was that a low blow?)
Some terrific commentary by Theismann. Just explained what the yellow marks under the Jets' score denote. Apparently, each yellow mark is equivalent to one timeout. Who knew?
(0:00) Second quarter goes infinitely better for the Jets than the first. Caldwell needed help off the field at the end of the half, joining Coles and Ochocinco on the sideline.
(Wait, Ochocinco is playing? Couldn't tell by watching the action. My bad.)
END OF HALF: NEW YORK 14, CINCINNATI 7
Stat of the half: Mark Sanchez is quietly 7/10 for 94 yards and a touchdown. That's a 132.9 quarterback rating. Can he keep it up?
I'll be back shortly for the second half of action. Jets ball coming out of the break.
(15:00) Set to get underway. Key to the second half? Simple. Is Carson Palmer actually going to be the second-best quarterback on the field for another two quarters?
(12:46) Shonn Greene is just running over the Bengals' defense right now. Crazy poise by the Jets' three rookies today, Sanchez, Greene and Rex.
(10:10) There's why you can't sit easy if you are a Jets fan. First, Schottenheimer took the ball out of Greene's hand, and started giving the ball to Thomas Jones. Not sure I understand why fix what isn't broke - Greene marched the Jets down the field ... keep giving him the ball! Then, back-to-back penalties on field goal attempts by Feely. Rare you see a holding or a false start on a field goal try, let alone on back to back plays. Instead of being up two scores, the Jets now give the ball back to the Bengals.
Think that field goal miscue won't cost the Jets? Just look back to Week 15, where the Jets blew multiple three-point tries in a 10-7 loss to the Falcons.
(8:38) Man, does Palmer look off. Only good news for the Bengals after that incompletion is that Coles is back out running routes. The bad news? Bart Scott is back for the Jets, too.
(7:57) It is a bad idea to throw at No. 24 for many reasons. One good reason? In isolation, referees love throwing flags for the slightest bit of contact on the defender. Bengals pick up over 20 yards on a very questionable pass interference call on Revis.
(6:24) Surprise! Kickers playing a major factor in determining this game, as Shayne Graham misses one from within 40 for Cincinnati.
(4:38) If Schotty has a money call, it's the quick slant off the playaction fake to the tailback. First down Jets, and they are in Feely's range.
(3:00) Still the third quarter, and New York has blown two of their timeouts already. That does not bode well if this game stays close late into the fourth. How have the Jets lost to the Falcons, Dolphins and Jaguars this year? Long, game-ending drives by the opponent, where Ryan couldn't stop the clock.
(2:26) I think Gibbs just made his first comment of the third quarter. Impressive.
(2:18) There was some disrespect aimed at Faneca after he was named to the Pro Bowl, when D'Brickashaw Ferguson hadn't yet been named a starter. Right there, the Pro Bowl LG just showed why he'll be playing in Miami. Faneca pulls right, plowing a hole for Thomas Jones, as the Jets go up by two scores.
NEW YORK 21, CINCINNATI 7
(0:00) Palmer and his slot receivers (Caldwell, Coles) finding a bit of a groove at the end of the third. Unfortunately for him, I don't know how much more Caldwell will be able to play out there - he looks like he's hurting.
END OF THIRD QUARTER: NEW YORK 21, CINCINNATI 7
(14:20) Got to love Ihedigbo's pressure dance. (Yes, defenders now dance after bringing pressure). Celebrates hitting the long putt. Unique. I give it a 10/10. Jets ball.
(11:27) Chad Ochocinco lives on. No Chad Johnson, as the Bengals' ace receiver makes his first reception in seven quarters against Revis.
(11:04) Dude next to me says "Palmer should run it to the weak side." Benson takes it to the weak side, and 47 yards later, Cincinnati is within a score.
NEW YORK 21, CINCINNATI 14
(9:59) The playaction bootleg is so effective with the Jets' running attack. Fake the handoff, rollout the opposite way, have the tight end follow you, you're going to get yards. Sometimes, you're going to break it open. Keller takes it well into Cincinnati territory.
(5:47) Despite Tom Hammond's wishes, Jets play it smart, and nail the field goal, putting the team up two possessions with under 6:00 left. Terrific drive by Mark Sanchez, burning over 5:00 off the clock.
NEW YORK 24, CINCINNATI 14
(5:33) After Coles can't haul in a Palmer pass attempt, Dwight Lowery crawls off the field in obvious pain. Would be a blow to an already banged up Jets secondary.
(4:34) Jets playing at a different level physically than Cincinnati. Coles on the sideline getting tended too with what looks like a head injury. Remember when Rex Ryan compared the Jets to the Super Bowl champion Ravens? That team was made on physicality ... this Jets team is made in the same mold.
(4:08) Rare bonehead play by David Harris. No need to come in and drill Crosby after he ran out of bounds. When your team is up by two possessions, and you see the opposition ducking out of bounds, let them go. Bengals now at the Jets' 11.
(3:49) Great point by Theismann earlier in the game, and he re-iterated it there. Graham cannot kick in the clutch, and he just missed one from 28. That was one heck of a death stare he got from Marvin Lewis walking off the field. You can tell that Sanchez and the Jets can feel it right now.
(3:03) NBC analysts giving Revis problems for playing off Ochocinco now. They're wrong - it's the right move. A 15-yard gain over the middle that costs Cincinnati 30 seconds and keeps the clock moving isn't going to help the Bengals win the game right now. Play conservative in coverage, keep the pressure on Palmer. That's how the Jets need to wrap this game up.
(1:56) Two-minute warning, Jets ball ... as Rod Boone tweeted, this baby is over. Sanchez can just kneel on it, and New Yorkers can focus on tomorrow's Ravens vs. Patriots game to see if Gang Green gets a rematch with Indy, or has to deal with Philip Rivers next week.
(0:00) Put it in the books ... the Jets are on to the divisional round. And yes, they are Super Bowl contenders. With the team's defense, run offense, and playcalling, there is no reason to believe that Gang Green are the longshots in the Tournament.
We all know the positives ... Sanchez, Greene, Cotchery, Keller, Revis, Leonard, Feely. The negatives? Three that were a little glaring; kickoff coverage, secondary injuries and run stopping. Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff should help New York fix the special teams issues, and Gang Green's run defense will bounce back next week. The decimated secondary? We'll see this week how Lowery and Strickland are doing.
Thanks for following along and participating, and kick back and relax Jets fans!
FINAL SCORE: NEW YORK 24, CINCINNATI 14
Before we get started, a quick recap of how we got here, and some points to watch out for during today’s game … I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible.
Of course, the playoff run for the Jets began after the 10-7 embarrassment against the Atlanta Falcons that, miraculously, ended up being inconsequential. Gang Green proceeded to take on Indianapolis in, what I think, was the team’s best performance of the year. New York’s 19-0 run crushed Indy’s dream of 19-0, as the Jets topped Peyton … I mean Painter and Co., 29-15.
Then, there was Sunday night. New York in a win-and-get-in scenario. Same ole Jets? Not exactly. New York brought the house down – and closed out Giants Stadium, provided the Ravens don’t meet the Jets in the AFC Championship game – with a 37-0 walloping of Cincy.
What did this lead to, other than a playoff berth for the rookie tandem of Ryan and Mark Sanchez? A whole lot of optimism, culminating in Ryan declaring the Jets Super Bowl favorites.
Will it happen? Here’s what to watch for today:
Lito Sheppard, Jim Leonard and the rest of the non-Revis secondary vs. Laveranues Coles, J.P. Foschi and the rest of the Bungles non-Ochocinco receiving corps
85 vs. 24 should be terrific – I have to give the edge to Revis, just because he hasn’t given me reason not to believe he’ll hold an ace wide receiver in check yet. But remember the Jets’ loss to New England earlier this year, when Wes Welker absolutely torched a sloppy-looking Jets secondary? If Palmer can find his slot receivers and his tight ends, no Ochocinco may mean no problem for the Bengals ‘O’.
The Bengals’ rush defense vs. Thomas Jones, Brad Smith, Shonn Greene and Danny Woodhead
Last week, Gang Green ran all over a short-staffed Bengals’ defensive front. This week, there is still no Rey Maualauga – he’s gone for the year – and Tom Nelson, the team’s hard-hitting safety, was hurt last week, and may be limited. However, Domata Peko returns after a five-week hiatus, looking to play the role of gap-filler on the line for Cincy.
Mark Sanchez’s arm vs. Mark Sanchez’s brain
Remember when Eli Manning’s body language drew the ire of Giants’ fans years back? Monitor Sanchez throughout the game. The dude’s going to make mistakes – maybe not interceptions, but missing open receivers, throwing into double coverage, heck sliding the wrong way. The key will be to avoid giving in to a defeatist attitude – the rook needs to be a game manager, not a game changer.
Will it be effective? Will Brad Smith throw the ball as Ryan hinted at after the Jets’ win? Does Cincy have enough tape now to prevent the Jets’ new (and improved?) version of Leon Washington in check?
Anyway, I’ll be back at kickoff to get the action going. And like I said, let’s make this a conversation … I’ll give participants shout-outs, answer your questions, and try to provide you with as insightful and objective commentary I possibly can.
Oh, before I forget, prediction time … Jets 20, Bengals 10.