Rushing offense: C-
For the second week in a row the run game was effective as a threat only. For the second week in a row, the Bengals averaged 3.2 yards per carry. For the second week in a row, it didn’t matter. The mere threat of rushing success posed by Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis made the Jets stick with their plan to stack the box, which resulted in a lot of single coverage in the secondary. And the Bengals exploited it early and often.
Passing offense: A
As good as Andy Dalton and the Bengals passing game was the last two weeks, Sunday was even better. Dalton threw for a career-high five touchdowns, and second-year wide receiver Marvin Jones caught a franchise-record four of them. The Bengals came out attacking with three deep balls on the opening series. And while none of them were completed, one resulted in a 34-yard pass interference penalty to set up Jones’ first TD. Dalton and Co. continued to take shots the rest of the game, finishing with four completions of 25 yards or more. Part of that was due to the Jets stacking the box to stop the run, and part was due excellent pass blocking. In addition to his four TDs, Jones also had a career-high eight receptions for a career-high 122 yards. A.J. Green also topped the century mark for the third straight week with 115 yards on three catches. And Jermaine Gresham caught his first TD pass of the year.
Rushing defense: B+
The Jets averaged 3.9 yards per carry and finished with 93 yards, but those numbers were skewed due to the rout that left both teams fielding mostly backups in the fourth quarter. Through three quarters the Bengals had held New York to 36 yards on 16 carries (2.3 average). When all was said and done, Jets backup quarterback Matt Simms was the team’s leading rusher with 35 yards. He gained 22 of them on one scramble. Cincinnati held New York’s top two backs to less than 2 yards per carry each (Bilal Powell 1.9, Chris Ivory 1.8).
Passing defense: A
In addition to coming up with two interception returns for touchdowns for the first time since 1984, the Bengals held rookie quarterback Geno Smith to 159 passing yards and sacked him four times one week after the team failed to record a sack in Detroit. Adam Jones, who had one of the pick-sixes, held up well filling in for Leon Hall, and Chris Crocker was solid as well.
Special teams: B+
Brandon Tate’s 71-yard kickoff return was his longest of the year and helped set up a touchdown. Tate averaged 21 yards on his other three kick returns, and he combined with Adam Jones to average just 5 yards on four punt returns. Punter Kevin Huber wasn’t asked to do much, but he was solid when called upon with a 53.7-yard average and a 50.3 net. The coverage teams did a pretty job against old nemesis Josh Cribbs. They held him to 10 yards on two punt returns, but Cribbs averaged 26.4 yards on his five kickoff returns with a long of 36.
Marvin Lewis called it the most complete game of the year, which almost seems like an understatement. The coaches set the tone with an aggressive, attacking approach that had the Jets on their heels from the opening series. After winning back-to-back games in dramatic, final-play fashion, the possibility for a letdown was there.