In a game that was supposed to be a defensive battle from a stout Jets’ front seven who had been shutting down ground games all season, the Bengals initiated the game with a conservative set of play calls designed to test New York’s secondary, spread out the coverage, and consequently the linebackers, in order to open up more opportunities for the run. Turns out, the Bengals running game wasn’t really needed.
Cincinnati opened up the first quarter with the ball on their own 20-yard line. With a little help from a soft 34-yard pass interference call against Jets’ cornerback Antonio Cromartie, the Bengals moved downfield in 12 total plays that resulted in 9-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones, the first of what would be four touchdowns.
After a quick three-and-out from the Jets, capped by an 8-yard sack by Geno Atkins on 3rd and 7, the Bengals got the ball back on their own 32. Seven plays later, Jermaine Gresham grabbed a 4-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-0 with just under four and a half minutes left in the first quarter.
The Jets get the ball back on their own 20 and manage a 1st-down after converting a 3rd-and-13. However, an 11-yard sack from Reggie Nelson on the next series forced the Jets to punt, giving the ball back to Cincinnati on their own 36 after a 11-yard return by Brandon Tate.