The NFL is a passing league, everyone has declared this season, and they're right. Instead of becoming a great downfield passing team, though, the Jets are taking a different approach to it. They're not going to let you throw the ball.
With Rex Ryan's defense constantly heating up Carson Palmer(notes), and Darrelle Revis(notes) locking down Chad Ochocinco(notes), the Bengals passing game couldn't get anything done against the Jets through the air. Thus, the Jets emerged triumphant, 24-14.
Now, Cedric Benson(notes) had an unbelievable day, running for 169 yards, and if you'd have told me before the game that that was going to happen, I'd have gone ahead and chalked up a win for the Bengals. They couldn't get anything done in the air, though. Carson Palmer finished the game 18-of-36 for 146 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Those numbers probably even paint a prettier picture of the performance than it actually was. Most of it came in the second half, when the Bengals were trailing and desperate to throw, and even those drives were inefficient and stuttering. Palmer never completed a pass longer than 20 yards, and again, his main threat, Chad Ochocinco, was safely locked away in Darrelle Revis's pocket. Ocho caught two balls for 28 yards.
The rest of the playoffs set up interestingly for the Jets. The three other biggest threats to win the AFC, the Chargers, Colts and Patriots, all live and die through the air. The Jets offense can't measure up to any of those afore-mentioned offenses, but their defense might have a shot to cut them down to size. AFC quarterbacks are going to have their work cut out for them.