The Bengals lost to the Jets at home, but neither Rex Ryan's defense, nor the Geno Smith led offense could do anything against Cincinnati's starters. We all saw Andy Dalton's performance against the weak Jets' secondary, so instead we are going to look at the good day Paul Guenther's first-teamers had.
The Jets kicked off the game with their opening drive, one that had a very short life as the Bengals first team defense stopped them quickly for a 3 & out. New York will try to run the football here between the RG and RT, but Brandon Thompson does a nice job pulling his man to his left side, thus making Chris Johnson cut up the middle, where he is going to find Vontaze Burfict, who had another terrific game.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson will try to block him on the second level, only to miss, allowing Burfict to cut fast and shut down the hole inside, where Jets' center (great Nick Mangold) and LG were holding the fort.
Margus Hunt, who again had a very promising game (and also impressed against the rush on Saturday with a +2.7 and +4.6 overall from PFF) was also no match for his man, closing any other way out for the running back.
The Jets only gained a yard out of that run and after the first of many penalties on the game they found themselves on 3&14, with Paul Guenther on nickel formation and Leon Hall back in the slot but on zone coverage.
Both Burfict and Lamur are going to drop to take out the first down, checking one of the Jets' slot receivers and preventing any pass in the intermediate area. Hall's job will be the same as well, so Geno Smith is going to have an open spot to throw the football.
Cincinnati will gladly take that and the short completion won't be enough as Burfict again does a great job tackling and bringing down the Jets' number three receiver, David Nelson.
If only every player on the roster could tackle like Vontaze does.
After that, the first of Dalton's drives (again, against a very weak secondary), the New Yorkers would find a little bit of rhythm, but Cincy's defense stood their ground, making a good job bending but not breaking. In this caption Jets' slot receiver will not block Lamur, allowing the SAM linebacker to make the play.
RT is also heading for the second level and Margus Hunt is very close to reaching the running back.
Lamur takes what the offense give him although that is not enough to prevent the first down, but he delivers nicely with a good tackle to stop Chris Johnson, playing quite better than against the Chiefs.
Next picture is going to show why this unit is so good.
LG is going to scroll down to the right side to open up a lane for the run between the RT and himself but Maualuga is going to cut inside quickly and LE will also help, almost breaking free off his man.
The running back is going right to avoid the defense but the wide receiver is going to make a mistake, forgetting about Newman and going straight to the second level to take out Iloka, who had been paying attention to the play's development and was there at the right time for the Bengals to get the stop.
That is the kind of things Marvin Lewis likes about him, not the stats wise ones. Iloka was solid in the 18 snaps he played on Saturday evening.
Newman will make the play with a good tackle on the Jets' running back, although Lamur and Iloka were also available for help.
The Bengals number two cornerback will have a bad outing though in the caption that follows, allowing Geno his longest completion yet, getting beating on the inside by Salas on a slant route. Both Burfict and Maualuga will blitz while Gilberry drops to coverage, taking out a short pass to the left side, where Leon Hall was also trailing his man on the same route.
Iloka will get to the running back when he moves out of the backfield and the Jets' tight end's route will also remove Lamur from the middle of the field, leaving Newman no interior help besides Nelson, who is deep on this play.
Receiver does a nice job here beating Newman with his feet but the offensive line had a terrific effort all game long, giving Geno so much time to throw, even with the Bengals blitzing here. Smith's first read is in fact the left side, but Gilberry and Iloka are there and the quarterback is in no hurry to rush things.
With Lamur entertained with the tight end, Geno sees the open window to throw the football even though Burfict (or Maulauga, can't see properly here) goes hard and fast down the middle for spectacular action against the lineman.
Newman is going to catch up and make the tackle but only after losing 20 yards, giving the visitors from New Jersey possession on Cincy's side of the field. The veteran cornerback was not heavy penalized by PFF though, getting only a -0.3 grade on pass coverage; overall he had a solid game.
On 1&10 and with the Jets thinking red zone Iloka made one of the highlight plays of the evening, breaking down what could have been another first down. Newman is on zone and the wide receiver was open as the other receivers were cleaning up the middle of the field for the intermediate pass. Lamur prevented the dump off pass to the running back so the window presented a good chance for Smith to make the throw.
The second year quarterback again had a decade to pass the ball (the Bengals failed to get anything going in the pass rush against the first team Jets' offensive line, which should concern). Iloka again read the play nicely and got there in time to deliver a clean but spectacular hit, avoiding the completion.
That effort by the safety and a Jets' penalty right afterwards take us to a 3&15, although Rex Ryan's men will be very close to converting it. The Bengals were on nickel formation and the linebackers took away the intermediate pass that could have created a first down.
Both the running back and the fullback made themselves available for the short dump off pass, and Geno found Bilal Powell, who did a great job breaking four tackles before being brought down. Although Newman and the linebacker should have made the play, their technique is not bad and sometimes, better offenses beat good defenses.
Geathers was also there with a good effort to chase down the running back before Hunt and Nelson combined to get the stop three yards shy of the first down.
The New Yorkers will kick to get themselves on board, and that will be the only thing they could get against Guenther's starters before torching past the back ups later in the second quarter.
On the next drive ,Smith found Kerly inside after Leon Hall got beaten at ease. Nickel formation's linebackers are busy with the tight end and running back, thus providing no help in the slot.
Smith threw a horrible pass on the very next play, and Newman picked it up allowing Cincy to increase their lead by three points.
The starters started leaving the field but the next caption shows a good effort by Hunt, which I wanted to take a look at. Nelson was in the box and Lamur at the line of scrimmage, showing good patience to let the play develop (avoiding a mistake we saw Marquis Flowers making against the Chiefs) and not getting drawn into the maul.
Hunt will be no match for Giacomini, who will even get some help from his right side. The beast from Estonia is going to stop the play by himself, only needing one arm to bring down the running back after penetrating the line nicely.
Let's note here, Maualuga fails to read the play, wasting a good chance to step inside the lane.
Thank Estonian gods, Hunt didn't need any help showing all of his strength, here.
Solid first team defense and Hunt keeps making strides, improving his outings against the run as well. Iloka is solid, too and the entire secondary stayed their ground besides a couple of easy passes allowed. Although, a Geno Smith led offense (and missing Eric Decker) should not be the best way to grade them.