EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Brett Favre and the New York Jets
were far from flashy on offense, and they didn't need to be against
the winless Cincinnati Bengals.
Thomas Jones ran for two touchdowns, including a 1-yarder late
in the game, and caught a pass from Favre for a score to lead the
Jets to a 26-14 win Sunday.
"It wasn't our best performance on offense, but it was a win,"
Favre said. "We did some good things. ... Thomas Jones, he had one
of those days."
The Jets (3-2) improved to 3-0 in games immediately following a
bye under coach Eric Mangini, but this one was far from easy. With
New York holding a tentative 20-14 lead, the Jets needed a 10-play,
41-yard drive by Favre that ate up the clock to seal the victory
over the Bengals (0-6).
"I don't believe in ugly wins," Favre said. "I believe a
win's win. That one felt as good as any win I've been a part of in
Ryan Fitzpatrick couldn't get much going for the Bengals in
place of an ailing Carson Palmer. He was 20-of-33 for 152 yards as
Cincinnati dropped to 0-6 for the third time since 2000.
"O-and-anything stings," linebacker Dhani Jones said. "We
just want to get the bad taste out of our mouths. O-and-6 is not a
position anybody wants to be in."
The Bengals gained just 43 yards rushing on 21 carries, with
Fitzpatrick's 23 leading the way.
"Everyone will say that with a backup in there, we need to run
the ball better. We will," said Fitzpatrick, making his second
start in three games with Palmer resting a sore right elbow. "It
was a struggle out there today. We have to go back to the drawing
board and figure it out."
Despite their struggles, the Bengals were still in it late. The
Jets had a third-and-4 from the Bengals 7 when Favre hit Chris
Baker for 6 yards. Jones followed with a 1-yard rumble into the end
zone with 2:22 left and the 2-point try fell incomplete to make it
a 12-point game.
Favre, coming off a six-touchdown performance in a 56-35 victory
over Arizona, wasn't nearly as explosive in this one. He finished
25-for-33 for 189 yards - throwing mostly short passes - a
touchdown and two interceptions.
"I'm not here for stats," Favre said. "I'm here for wins."
Jones finished with 17 carries for 65 yards and had his first
career three-TD game for the Jets, wearing their navy and gold
throwback New York Titans uniforms for the second straight game.
"Last (game), we threw the ball really well and scored a lot of
points and today wasn't that exact same situation," Jones said.
"We had to kind of grind it out a little more. The good thing is
we're able to do both."
Cincinnati took a 7-0 lead on the third play from scrimmage,
when Antwan Odom sacked Favre and forced a fumble. Chinedum Ndukwe
picked it up and ran 15 yards into the end zone to give the Bengals
the lead 1:24 into the game.
It didn't last long as New York tied it with a 2-yard touchdown
reception by Jones.
"The whole point is to be out there with the ball in your
hands," said Jones, who had two TDs all last season. "It always
feel good to get touchdowns, get into the end zone and contribute
to the team winning."
The score capped a strange drive during which Favre had thrown
two other touchdown passes that were called back by penalties.
Favre tossed a pass to Dustin Keller in the end zone on
third-and-goal from the 4, but right guard Brandon Moore was called
for being an ineligible man downfield. On the next play from the 9,
Favre hit Jerricho Cotchery in the end zone, but the play was
called back because of offensive pass interference by Chansi
"We're not going to throw six touchdown passes every week,"
Favre said with a smile. "We might throw three on one drive, which
was different, but we've got to be able to win games like that."
After Jay Feely gave the Jets a 10-7 lead with a 38-yard field
goal early in the second quarter, New York took advantage of a
costly mistake by Fitzpatrick. The Bengals quarterback fumbled when
he was sacked by Hank Poteat, and Calvin Pace recovered the ball.
Two plays later, Jones ran it into the end zone from 7 yards.
Fitzpatrick's 1-yard run made it 17-14 with 8 seconds left
before halftime. Feely added a 43-yarder in the third quarter to
put the Jets ahead 20-14.
"We've got to do better," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said.
"It's not good enough."
Notes: The Jets won the battle of field position, too, with their
average start at their own 46, while the Bengals' average start was
their 20. ... Cotchery and Laveranues Coles each had eight catches
for the Jets, while T.J. Houshmandzadeh had seven and Chad Ocho
Cinco five for the Bengals. ... Cincinnati cornerback Jamar
Fletcher and safety Herana-Daze Jones injured hamstrings in the
first half and didn't return.