There—on a blustery night in the Meadowlands—the Jets closed a tripping, bumbling trip into the playoffs with a convincing romp over the suprisingly anemic Cincinnati Bengals.
In the frigid night air—with windchill the temperature easily below zero—the Bengal's first team offense had a total of nine yards at the half. Carson Palmer was even more off balance—between one drive alone where three passes were dropped (including two by Chad Ocho Cinco). By halftime Carson Palmer was 1 for 11 with zero yards and a 1.7 passer's rating. The running game was even more abismal, with Larry Johnson leading the way with nine yards. The net total yardage for the Bengals for the first half: seven yards.
In a more suprising letdown, the first team defense was run over through the first half, surrendering 196 yards on the ground and 54 through the air as the Jets entered the locker room with 250 net yards and 27 total points.
The second half saw the return of the Bengals' first team starters for almost half of the third quarter—which seemed overtly risky considering the game was likely over with the large deficit already established.
In the end, Jets 37—Bengals 0. Embarassing, and even though this game was somewhat of a write off, the first team did little to assuage Bengal Nation's fears that next week could very well be a continuing saga of the same.
The glimmer of hope comes from the anticipated returns of Domata Peko, Robert Geathers, and Chris Crocker to the defense along with Cedric Benson and J.P. Foschi to the offense.
In any event, injuries sustained of unknown severity to Tom Nelson and Chad Ocho Cinco should make this short week a very trying and challenging one heading into Saturday's rematch in Cincinnati against the New York Jets.