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Instant analysis after Bengals suffer upset at hands of Jets

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The Cincinnati Bengals stumbled in Week 8, letting the New York Jets hang around for most of the game before losing, 34-31.

It was an odd day all around for the Bengals as the offense routinely stumbled and the defense had major issues with a backup quarterback.

Sometimes that’s just how it goes though and all the team can do is learn from the film while it starts to prep for Cleveland in Week 9. Here are some immediate reactions and notes.

Quick Hits

— Disaster of a start for the Bengals on both sides of the ball. Mike White looked like Peyton Manning briefly, starting 9-of-9 and giving the Jets a lead. The offense couldn’t get anything going either, even after starting at the one-yard-line after a Jessie Bates interception.

— At one point in the second quarter, the Bengals had five yards of total offense, letting a bad Jets team hang around even despite a pair of interceptions by the defense.

— The defensive game plan in the first half was perplexing, to say the least. White was permitted to dink and dump the ball all over the field for a 23-of-29 line with 217 yards.

— As expected, the offensive play-calling, at least, improved as the half went on. But a few key missed opportunities had Burrow slamming his helmet in frustration on the sideline.

— After a stumble out of halftime, the Bengals later went 75 yards over four plays, with Tee Higgins continuing his huge day before a Joe Mixon score. But even going up 24-17 wasn’t good enough with the way the defense had been playing.

— Curiously, Bengals coaches kept trying to make the running game happen, especially inside — which is a big no-no against the Jets, as it’s maybe the only defensive strength that team has.

Joe Burrow put the team on his back in the fourth quarter, marching all the way down the field with a furious, improv-heavy drive as he scrambled to keep plays alive. He eventually found Tyler Boyd for his third passing touchdown on the day, making it a 31-20 game.

— Stunning turn of events late: Jets score, fail on a two-point try, tip a Burrow pass at the line of scrimmage for an interception, then throw a touchdown on the very next play to take a lead. Bengals blow an 11-point lead in a matter of seconds late in the fourth.

Key Stat

512: Total yards for the Jets. Just a brutal day for the Bengals defense as the unit appeared to play too far back too often, enabling a backup quarterback to pick them apart. Even standout corner Chidobe Awuzie had a tough day in coverage.

Game Balls

Tee Higgins: After a few ho-hum games while Ja’Marr Chase dominates the passing game, No. 85 came alive against the Jets with some big one-on-one plays and one of the best catches of his career, finishing the day with four catches for 97 yards.

Joe Burrow: Burrow did everything he could, scrambling and extending plays and having a solid second half, finishing with three touchdown passes.

Top Takeaway

Live and learn: These things are going to happen. The Jets have been blown out multiple times this year but also nearly beat a contender like Tennessee. The defense getting pushed around by a backup quarterback is a big problem, but not a season-ending one. Provided the coaches can gameplan better for unorthodox opponents like this in the future, this isn’t some major red flag.

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