Just when you thought things were looking up for the New York Jets, they provided another sobering reminder of why they are, in fact, the Jets.
Gang Green’s three-game winning streak came to a disastrous end in Week 13 with a 22-6 loss to the previously winless Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Entering Sunday 0-11, the Bengals become the second team this season to play the Jets with a record of 0-7 or worse and win.
That gave the Jets the dubious honor becoming the first team in the 100-year history of the NFL to do that.
Adam Gase’s team was overwhelmed by Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who was starting his first game since Week 8 after being benched for Ryan Finley.
Dalton did enough to deliver the Bengals their first victory of the season, completing 22-of-37 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown on the day.
It was anything but an offensive showcase as the Bengals outgained the Jets 281-270. But Gase’s offense, which looked fixed after three-straight 34-point outings, completely disappeared on Sunday as they went without a touchdown for the fifth game this season.
Against the league’s worst rush defense, the Jets inexplicably relied heavily on Sam Darnold and the passing game.
It didn’t work.
Darnold completed 28-of-48 passes for 239 yards while All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell carried the ball just 10 times for 32 yards.
Another impressive opening drive from the Jets ensured they would get points on their first possession of the game for a sixth-straight outing. However, after 10 plays that got the Jets well into Bengals territory, the drive stalled, leading to a 42-yard field goal from Sam Ficken.
It was the Bengals — who had scored just four touchdowns in their previous four games — who were first to find paydirt when Dalton connected with Tyler Boyd with a laser over the middle through tight coverage for a 17-yard score.
Cincinnati’s first points of the day late in the opening quarter were historic for Dalton as he became the Bengals’ all-time leader in touchdown passes.
The Bengals should have made it 14-7, but tight end CJ Uzomah dropped a wide-open pass at the goal line on a 3rd-&-7 to force the hosts to kick a field goal.
But Dalton and the Bengals continued to carve their way through the Jets defense.
In just 2:41 shortly before halftime, the Bengals went 91 yards on eight plays to take a 14-point lead thanks to Joe Mixon’s five-yard touchdown rush. A late field goal from Ficken would reduce the Jets’ halftime deficit to 11.
But the Jets offense — which posted just three total yards through the first 20 minutes of the second half — would continue to implode throughout when Kelvin Beachum’s hold in the end zone that resulted in a safety to put Cincinnati up 19-6 with 6:18 remaining in the third.
With their ensuing possession, the Bengals added a field goal to extend their lead to an insurmountable 16 heading into the fourth quarter.