This was a game dominated by a combination of defense and inept, woeful, disastrous interception-throwing from the quarterbacks on both sides.
In the end, Carson Palmer managed to throw more horrific interceptions than Mark Sanchez did, but the young upstart had to rely on some suspect hands from Bengals corner Leon Hall to avoid a tie in that regard.
As has become the trend recently, the Jets found a way to win in the second half and the Bengals found a way to capitulate away a halftime lead.
Bengals: Three performances of note
We’ll start with the good news from the Bengals’ performance, because there isn’t much of it. Once again, left tackle Andrew Whitworth (+3.5) had a fine game, keeping Palmer completely clean in pass protection and making a couple of plays blocking out in front of screen plays. Whitworth really is an extremely solid player, and is clearly the Bengals’ best lineman in 2010.
Palmer (-1.4) is a strange kettle of fish. It’s difficult to recall a quarterback going from such a peak of play to such a trough like he has. Palmer is still capable of making some very good throws — even under pressure — and he showed a couple in this game, but the interceptions have become preposterous in nature. Both of the picks he threw in this game were completely inexcusable for a quarterback of his experience, and the second one was into triple coverage, including both Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis. That is never likely to end well.
With the Bengals starting to get some productivity out of DE Carlos Dunlap (+0.8), it’s difficult to see the argument for persisting in starting Robert Geathers (-3.1). Geathers has never been a pass-rushing demon, and he generated not a single pressure on his 26 rushes in this game, but he has started to fade badly against the run. He couldn’t set the edge during this game, being folded into the line by tight ends as well as Damien Woody.
Jets: Three performances of note
This was a strange game in terms of running the football for the Jets. Despite the entire O-line grading positively, and Shonn Greene (+1.9) getting a good grade, they weren’t able to top 4.0 yards per carry from either of their primary rushers (Brad Smith‘s 55-yard end-around bumped their overall YPC figure to 4.6). Cincinnati defenders were individually making plays at times, but Greene showed some good hard-nosed running, carrying tacklers for additional yardage and moving piles when he had to.
Bart Scott is one of PFF’s favorite linebackers to watch play. There are few linebackers that run into contact with the speed and violence that Scott does, and when he puts it all together he is a great player to watch. This game earned Scott a +3.7 PFF grade, playing the run well, and getting a hit and a pressure on Palmer from his eight blitzes. It’s worth spending a series one day watching Scott take on blockers, trust us.
The Jets have reasons to feel good and bad on special teams. The good news is a player like Brad Smith (+1.6), whose kick return for a touchdown really was a thing of beauty. The break in his stride that losing his cleat half way through caused actually helped him find the final gap he needed to break it all the way. On the flip side, the Jets have to be sweating having Nick Folk (-2.1) as the kicker for a team that wants to control the clock, keep the score close and will need to rely on kicks in the playoffs should they make it there. Folk even managed to clang the upright on a PAT in this game, but it bounced in.
Bengals top pick Jermaine Gresham‘s -1.6 grade comes largely from a dropped pass on a screen play that could have picked up vital yardage. In truth, he had an average game. … Jordan Shipley (-0.5) wasn’t helped out by a couple of no-calls from the officials that really hurt his day, including one that would have put the Bengals at the Jets’ 1-yard line. … Defensive tackle Geno Atkins (-1.2 ) played 22 snaps on but wasn’t able to get involved. … Roddrick Muckelroy (+0.5) showed up on special teams with a tackle and an assist.
For the Jets, top pick Kyle Wilson (+0.0) is still down the depth chart on D, playing just five snaps. He is still the team’s punt returner, but he wasn’t able to shake the Bengals’ coverage units in this game. … Halfback Joe McKnight (+0.5) was active (possibly to make the Jets’ staff feel better about the success of Danny Woodhead, released in favor of McKnight), but he didn’t make it onto the field on offense. To McKnight’s credit, he made a tackle on special teams and was unlucky (and was foiled by a sketchy block) in being unable to down a punt inside the 5-yard line.
Fullback John “The Terminator” Connor (-0.6) played 12 snaps, 11 of them as a lead-blocker on run plays. While he does hit like a train, he doesn’t always move his guy out of the hole he’s leading through, causing the HB to have to make a cut to another hole behind the line of scrimmage, which is often a bad idea.
A lot was made pregame about Terrell Owens calling Revis just an average corner this season. Revis was able to lock T.O. down, to the tune of three receptions for 17 yards, and the only way the Bengals could get T.O. open was to run picks on Revis to try and physically create separation. Wonder if T.O. has a different opinion now?