See, a Cincinnati kicker named Aaron Pettrey had nailed a 28-yard field goal and their Jets only had a seven point lead. If you understand Jets history, you could almost hear the exasperated voice in their collective head: Here we go again.
Then in an instant, that voice was silenced.
Brad Smith gathered the ensuing kickoff and sprinted up-field. Ten yards. Twenty yards. Thirty yards. He did not stop until he reached the end zone, 90 yards away.
And for once, the Jets final offensive possession of a game ended with quarterback Mark Sanchez taking a kneel to kill the clock, rather than desperately leading a late-game drive.
Smith's second touchdown salted away the Jets' 26-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at the New Meadowlands Stadium Thursday night. The Jets are tied with the Patriots for the National Football League's best record at 9-2. The AFC East rivals will meet for the second time this season next Monday Night, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. The Jets and Patriots first meeting took place in the season's second week. The Jets beat the Pats, 28-14, at the New Meadowlands Stadium that day.
Among the NFL's premier utility players, Smith was the best player on the field Thanksgiving night and a nationwide audience bore witness to that. Smith finished with 200 all-purpose yards. His 53-yard end around for a touchdown 1:47 into the third quarter gave the Jets a 10-7 lead that they would not relinquish.
Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes—arguably becoming as lethal a pass-catch duo as Namath-Maynard, O'Brien-Walker, Testaverde-Johnson and Pennington-Coles in Jets history—increased the lead to 17-7 with a 13-yard touchdown hookup. Sanchez was efficient, completing 16-of-28 passes for 166 yards, and the touchdown. He threw one interception and was sacked twice for a loss of 17 yards. Holmes caught five passes for 44 yards and the touchdown.
Cincinnati , whose season came to a premature, yet merciful conclusion for all intents and purposes after falling to 2-9, may have learned that the whole is not greater than their parts and that personnel changes are needed for an opportunity at future success.
Quarterback Carson Palmer was dreadful against the Jets' blitz. He only completed 17-of-38 passes for 135 yards, was picked off twice—once in the end zone—and was sacked three times for a loss of 18 yards. The third sack was a safety that was the game's last score. It was recorded by Trevor Price. Palmer did throw a five-yard second quarter touchdown to rookie Jordan Shipley that put the Bengals ahead 7-3.
Terrell Owens earned headlines and raised eyebrows earlier in the week by calling Darrelle Revis an "average" cornerback. Owens stated that was his response to Revis' nearly year-old suggestion that Owens and Randy Moss played like "slouches" against him last season. Revis won the third straight matchup against Owens, as he limited the Bengals wide receiver to three catches for 17 yards. Owens' partner in self-aggrandizing foolishness, Chad Johnson, caught four passes for 41 yards against Antonio Cromartie.
Nick Folk's 27-yard field goal 5:59 into the second quarter was the game's opening score.
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