Jets smash Bengals, 37-0, to earn playoff berth
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.-- The New York Jets closed Giants Stadium in style, at least for them and their fans, as they built a 27-point halftime lead and clinched an AFC playoff spot by beating the Cincinnati Bengals, 37-0, here Sunday night.
The Jets reached the playoffs as the AFC's fifth seed. They will play the Bengals, who dropped to the fourth seed with the defeat, again Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati in a first-round playoff game.
Unless the Jets advance to the AFC championship game and host the sixth-seeded Baltimore Ravens in it, this was the final NFL game at Giants Stadium. The Jets and New York Giants will move into a new stadium at the Meadowlands next season. And on this typically chilly, windy night at this place for a game with something significant at stake, the Jets could do almost no wrong and the Bengals could do practically nothing right.
"The fans were into it," Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis said. "They stayed with it through the cold. We gave them a little reward for that."
The Jets got first-half touchdowns on a one-yard run by tailback Thomas Jones, a 32-yard dash by wide receiver Brad Smith and a six-yard run by wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. Kicker Jay Feely added a pair of field goals, the second of them as time expired in the half following an interception thrown by Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer.
Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis left Palmer on the field into the third quarter even with his team facing a large deficit, and with only playoff seeding at stake for the club. It wasn't exactly a sharp tuneup for the postseason for Palmer, who completed 1 of 11 passes for zero yards and threw an interception.
The Bengals finished with five first downs and 72 total yards.
"That was not the outcome we wanted today," Lewis said. "The Jets outplayed us in all three phases and they got the victory. Now we get a chance to regroup and keep going again next Saturday afternoon. . . . I didn't want to lose the football game. How we lost it, I don't think that really matters. We didn't want to lose the football game. We had something to play for tonight and we didn't get it done. Now we are where we are. Our goals are ahead of us, and let's go."
J.T. O'Sullivan took over at quarterback for the Bengals with a little more than nine minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Bengals did have tailback Cedric Benson on their inactive list for the game.
They didn't even escape the game injury-free. Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco hurt his knee, although he said he would be ready to play Saturday. Reserve defensive tackle Pat Sims suffered a broken arm.
"We'll be fine," Ochocinco said. "We've got plenty of time. We'll get it fixed. We'll be fine."
Lewis was similarly upbeat about the rematch.