Jets struggle, rally to beat Bengals 25-17
CINCINNATI (AP) -- With their secondary depleted, the Jets had no chance of stopping Andy Dalton.
Dalton completed all eight of his passes and led the Bengals to a pair of touchdowns and a field goal during three impressive series Saturday night before New York's reserves rallied for a 25-17 preseason victory.
"Dalton looked like a million-dollar quarterback tonight," Jets coach Rex Ryan said.
It was Dalton's first game at Paul Brown Stadium since his turnover-filled 27-10 loss to San Diego in the opening round of the playoffs. Also, it was his first home game since he signed a six-year contract extension that showed Cincinnati's commitment.
The fourth-year quarterback went 8 for 8 for 144 yards, one touchdown and a perfect passer rating of 158.3. The Bengals (0-2) rolled up 173 yards while he was in the game, pulling ahead 17-3.
With their starters on the field, the Jets (2-0) had another rough day at Paul Brown. They got drubbed 49-9 in Cincinnati midway through last season - Dalton threw a career-high five touchdown passes in that one.
Their injury-depleted secondary made it easy for Dalton on Saturday night.
In an experiment, they moved safety Antonio Allen to cornerback and had him cover A.J. Green. Ryan informed him before the game that he'd be covering one of the NFL's top receivers.
"They gave him multiple looks," Ryan said. "I told him before the game: `By the way, you're going to cover (No.) 18.' It ain't going to get any worse than that. He's the best in the AFC."
It didn't go well at all. Green caught three passes for 69 yards, including a 35-yard catch after he pulled away from Allen down the sideline.
"I got up and just tried to press him," Allen said. "He got loose and caught the ball."
Dalton threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu on the opening series, fitting a long throw in-between double coverage.
"That's about as good as it gets in the preseason, I guess," Dalton said. "It just felt good out there."
The Bengals went no-huddle with Dalton in the game, part of new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson's attempt to speed things up. The Jets couldn't keep up.
Geno Smith played the first half, staying in with the starters after Cincinnati substituted on defense in the second quarter. Smith was 10 of 13 for 98 yards and a passer rating of 65.5. He also ran four times for 20 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown.
Smith had his worst day as a rookie at Paul Brown last season, throwing two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. He had one regrettable throw on Saturday, overshooting an open David Nelson deep down the middle.
"No matter who's out there we've got to execute," Smith said. "We did a good job up-front tonight. Now we just have to figure out ways to get better."
Michael Vick took over in the second half and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass. He went 5 of 9 for 70 yards and scrambled twice for 16 yards. Rookie Ikemefuna Enemkpali blocked Kevin Huber's punt out of the end zone for a safety.
The Jets had seven penalties for personal fouls, unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness. Offensive tackle Breno Giacomini got two of them - one for shoving cornerback Terence Newman after his interception, another for a roll block. Guard Brian Winters also got flagged for two.
"We want to be as physical of a football team that we can be within the confinement of the rules," Ryan said. "We want to be a clean, physical team."
Notes: Attendance was 45,330. ... Rookie WR Jalen Saunders, who was involved in a one-car accident on Friday, didn't accompany the Jets to Cincinnati. ... CB Ras-I Dowling suffered a groin injury and sat out the second half. ... S Calvin Pryor, the Jets' first-round pick, played in the second half. He missed the first preseason game with a concussion. ... Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict left in the first quarter with an injured right shoulder but returned for the next series. ... Top draft pick CB Darqueze Dennard hurt his hip in the first half and didn't return. Second-round RB Jeremy Hill hurt his right shoulder in the second half.
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