The Cincinnati Bengals played host to the upstart New York Jets in First Round action of the AFC Playoffs.
The Bengals spent little time getting on the scoreboard and energizing their fans even further when wide receiver Chad Ochocinco out-battled All-Pro cornerback Darnelle Revis on a fade pattern in the back corner of the endzone to give Cincinnati a ultra-quick 7-0 lead.
Marc Sanchez, the Jets rookie signal caller tried to shake off playoff nerves on the next New York possession but tossed an ill-advised pass late across the middle of the field where it was intercepted by the Bengals' Johnathan Joseph.
The teams then traded punts before Cincinnati put together a steady drive into New York territory. On third down, Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer ducked the Jet pass rush, moved to his left and threw off-balance to a crossing Lavernues Coles who carried the ball in from 19 yards out for a touchdown, surprisingly untouched. Cincinnati led 14-0 and the New York sideline looked a bit tense.
Sanchez then rallied behind his team and its strong running game, pounding out a drive that culminated with a second-effort quarterback sneak for a touchdown. The Jets had clawed back into the game at the end of the First Quarter, down 14-7.
The two teams forced back-to-back turnovers, a Revis interception at midfield and a Robert Geathers fumble recovery on the very next Jet offensive play. The Bengals took full advantage of the turnover with a short drive for a touchdown that culminated with a Palmer to J.P. Foshi pass. Cincinnati was now ahead 21-7. The Bengals could have stretched their lead on their next possession, but Shayne Graham missed a 50-yard field goal attempt very wide to the right.
The Jets ground out a competent drive into the Bengal side of the field but a untimely holding call on a completed pass from Sanchez that would have given New York the ball at the Cincinnati 12 yard line, pushed New York out of even field goal range. The Bengals took a few snaps and knelt down to end the First Half still up comfortably on the Jets, 21-7.
New York could do nothing on their initial drive of the Second Half. A punt to the Bengals led to a quiet, but effective ball-control possession. Cedric Benson took a soft Palmer pass in the right flat and dashed it in for another Cincinnati touchdown. The Bengals were pulling away, 28-7 and the Jets had only showed a flash of offensive production.
Summoning up something that they needed to forestall an end to their season, the Jets turned to their offensive staple, the running game. New York pushed the ball right at and through the Cincinnati defense until a first-down-and-goal play at the Bengal 5-yard line produced a sharp timing route from Chancey Stockey and a Jet touchdown. New York showed some life, down 28-14.
The Bengals failed to move the ball anywhere on their ensuing possession and punted away to the Jets. Methodically, the New Yorkers bashed the ball again down the field. Once inside the Bengal 5-yard line, they tried no finesse but gave the ball to running back Thomas Jones who bounced off an initial hit and ran through an arm tackle for a 4-yard touchdown run. The lead the Bengals had held all day had dwindled down to seven points, 28-21.
Fear shot through the Bengals and their fans when Cedric Benson mishandled a Palmer pitch and the Jets' Mike Devito recovered. Momentum seemed to have swung to the New York team, but the Cincinnati defense held serve and forced a punt. The Bengals fizzled out on their next drive at their own 35-yard line and gave the ball back to Jets at the beginning of the Fourth Quarter.
Rumbling down the field again, the Jets kept the ball on the ground, chewing up yards and the game clock. Hoping to hold the approaching Jets to a field goal, the Bengals defense dug in for a second down play from their own 7-yard line. As the Cinicinnat defenders crashed the line of scrimmage expected a bashing run play, Sanchez took the snap from center, faked to Jones and bootlegged out to his right. Chancey Stockey was completely in the clear when the football hit him in the hands and he loped in for the tying touchdown. Sanchez met Stockey with the rest of his teammates in the endzone for a leaping celebration. The score was suddenly tied 28-28 and the home fans in Cincinnati were standing, but silent.
The Bengals gained two first-downs on their next possession, but had to punt the ball away to the momentum-filled Jets offense. New York took over in fair field position and commenced to moving the ball into Cincinnati territory. Bengal defensive tackle, Tank Johnson, buried Sanchez at the Cincinnati 49-yard line with a third-down sack that forced the Jets to give the ball up as the Fourth Quarter wound down.
Carson Palmer and Cedric Benson managed the clock and the ball carefully, moving the Bengals down the field but could not advance beyond mid-field before the clock ran out for the Fourth Quarter and Regulation Time. Cincinnati and New York found themselves deadlocked at 28-28 and were headed into playoff overtime.
The crucial coin-toss was held at the 50-yard in front of the Cincinnati faithful in the fading sunlight. New York won the toss and immediately wanted to take possession of the ball first in the Overtime period.
Cincinnati fans stood the entire drive, urging on their obviously tired defense. Withering under the New York rushing attack, the Bengals gave ground and yards. Soon, the Jets were into Bengals territory and then into scoring position. Eleven methodical and ground-pounding plays later, New York was in position to attempt a 30-yard field goal for the win.
Now under the bright stadium lights that blared against the darkness of night, after a straight snap from center and a sure set of the ball on the ground, Jay Feely kicked the ball straight through the middle of the uprights giving the New York Jets a fantastic 31-28 victory.
Final Score: New York Jets 31 Cincinnati 28
2009 NFL Playoff Replay
Played using Downey Games' Momentum Football.
What This Is
A play through of the 2009 NFL playoffs. Write-ups are all original content.