Quarterback Boomer Esiason, coming off an erratic showing the previous week, threw touchdown passes to Stanford Jennings and Cris Collinsworth as the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the New York Jets, 24-20, last night in a National Football League preseason game in Cincinnati.

Esiason, a former Maryland quarterback who is competing with Turk Schonert for the No. 2 quarterback job behind Ken Anderson, completed 11 of 17 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown in his first-half stint.

Schonert played all of the second half and was seven for 11 for 108 yards with one interception. Anderson did not play as the Bengals took a long look at their backup quarterbacks.

Ken O'Brien, the Jets' starting quarterback, completed 11 of 15 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. O'Brien was replaced in the second half by Bob Avellini, another former Maryland quarterback, who completed nine passes in 20 attempts for 117 yards and one touchdown.

Jennings caught an overthrown pass tipped by New York cornerback Johnny Lynn to complete a 22-yard scoring play that gave Cincinnati (1-1) a 7-0 lead with 4:45 left in the first quarter. The Bengals never trailed in the game.

The Jets (0-2) answered with Pat Leahy's 32-yard field goal to open the second quarter before Esiason capped a 99-yard touchdown drive by connecting with Collinsworth for a 12-yard scoring pass.