The Jets’ defensive line feasted all afternoon, but it was the kickers who determined the final outcome.
A battered Bengals QB Andy Dalton still found a way to keep the score close by victimizing the Jets secondary and, in the end, it was Mike Nugent’s 47-yard field goal with 58 seconds left that helped the Bengals edge the Jets, 23-22, on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in the season opener.
The Jets’ last drive ended when Ryan Fitzpatrick was picked off by the Bengals’ Josh Shaw.
The result might have been different had Jets kicker Nick Folk not missed a 33-yard field goal and an extra point in the first half.
With less than nine minutes left in the game, Nugent a former Jet, missed wide right on a 52-yarder with Cincinnati leading 20-19.
On the Jets’ next possession, Fitzpatrick connected with Eric Decker on a 22-yard pass down the middle, which put the ball on the Bengals’ 15. The Jets were unable to put the ball in the end zone and had to settle for Folk’s third field goal of the game, a 23-yarder, which gave them a 22-20 lead.
The Jets got off to a great start in the first quarter. The offense was clicking and the defense stifled the Bengals with a suffocating pass rush. Fitzpatrick (19-for-35, 189 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) got them on the board first, hitting Quincy Enunwa on a 3-yard touchdown pass on their first drive of the game.
The Jets’ defensive line sacked Dalton five times in the first half and finished with seven.
Matt Forte, in his first game as a Jet, rushed for 96 yards on 22 carries and caught five passes for 59 yards.
When Dalton had time, he gave the Jets’ secondary fits. Dalton (23-for-30, 366 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) completed three passes of 49 yards or more, including a 54-yard touchdown to A.J. Green (12 catches, 180 yards) in the second quarter and a 49-yard pass to Brandon LaFell in the third. LaFell’s completion over cornerback Marcus Williams helped set up a 12-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Hill, who bowled over safety Marcus Gilchrist to put the Bengals ahead 20-16.