If the Bengals and the Jets come down to a battle for a Wild Card spot later this year, the Jets are going to feel even more regretful about letting their season opener get away than they likely do on Sunday afternoon.
The Jets came away with just 13 points on four trips inside the Bengals’ 10-yard-line and Nick Folk missed an extra point that looms large in a 23-22 home loss to the Bengals. Mike Nugent scored the winning points of the game on a 47-yard field goal with 54 seconds left to play and a costly Brandon Marshall drop was followed by a Josh Shaw interception to seal the deal a few plays later.
Nugent missed a 52-yard field goal earlier in the fourth quarter, but got a closer chance as time ran out when A.J. Green picked up 11 yards on a third down play. Green was a problem for the Jets all day, beating Darrelle Revis more than once on his way to 12 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown.
Green’s big plays helped the Bengals overcome a Jets pass rush that dropped Andy Dalton seven times and kept the running game in relative check over the course of the afternoon. 2015 first-round pick Leonard Williams had 2.5 of those sacks and the Jets didn’t appear to miss a beat without the suspended Sheldon Richardson and departed Damon Harrison.
The secondary had too many breakdowns, however, and the offense failed to take advantage of too many chances to get the ball into the end zone. Marshall and Eric Decker had quiet days — five catches for 69 yards between the two of them — and Ryan Fitzpatrick was just 16-of-35 overall. Matt Forte’s 155 yards from scrimmage in his first Jets outing was what they signed him to do, but there wasn’t enough help this Sunday.
Credit the Bengals for doing a good job on the big guns in the passing game and for realizing that there were plays to make through the air when the blocking held up. They threw it deep when coverage was tight and then switched it up when the Jets backed off, which added up to a big day for Green and Dalton, who ended up 23-of-30 for 366 yards. The sacks will need to come down, but it’s always nicer to fix those problems with a 1-0 record.