CINCINNATI, SEPT. 9 -- The quick-strike offense that elevated Bruce Coslet into a head coaching job ruined his debut.
His former offense scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to give the Cincinnati Bengals a 25-20 victory over Coslet's New York Jets today.
Boomer Esiason's second touchdown pass started the comeback from a 20-10 deficit in the last 10 minutes. David Fulcher's sack of Ken O'Brien for a safety picked up the momentum, then Jim Breech's two field goals in the last 4:46 won the game.
It was the type of quick-strike offense that gained Coslet respect in four years as the Bengals' offensive coordinator. Seeing it again from the other sideline changed his perspective.
"They have that No. 7, and he makes big plays," Coslet said, referring to Esiason. "Cincinnati is very lucky to have him."
Coslet's defense had No. 7 scrambling in the first half, when Esiason was six of 15 with an interception and just 70 passing yards. But in the second half, Esiason completed 11 of 15 passes for 132 yards.
The Bengals had changed their terminology to confuse Coslet, but the Bengals offense ended up confused.
"I felt in the second half that we had to play better, and it had to start with the quarterback," Esiason said. "We were doing a lot of dummy calls at the line of scrimmage, and maybe I found myself thinking too much in the first half instead of playing. In the second half, I decided just to go out and play."
He attacked the defense that Coslet had fine-tuned, throwing two second-half touchdown passes. He found James Brooks uncovered in the end zone for a three-yard touchdown that began the comeback from a 20-10 deficit with 9:46 left.
The Jets, who gave up the most sacks in the NFL last year, yielded two on their next series. The second hurt badly, safety Fulcher blitzing to run down O'Brien in the end zone and cut the lead to 20-19.