CINCINNATI - The first seven games of the season for the Cincinnati Bengals were tight affairs. There was a margin of seven points or less in the fourth quarter of each of those games and five of them were decided by no more than six points.
There was no such drama Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
Quarterback Andy Dalton threw a career-high five touchdowns, four of them to wide receiver Marvin Jones, and the Bengals rolled to their fourth consecutive win, 49-9, against the New York Jets.
Cincinnati (6-2) outgained the Jets (4-4) 402-240, including holding them to just one yard of offense in the first quarter, and returned two interceptions of Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith for touchdowns. The 40-point margin of victory was their largest in 11 seasons under head coach Marvin Lewis.
"That was ugly, to say the least," said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "We're only fortunate that it only counts for one loss because you get your butt kicked like that, we're fortunate that is all it is."
Dalton finished with 325 yards on 19 of 30 passing with one interception. It was his third consecutive 300-yard passing game -- the first time he has accomplished that in his career.
"I feel like we've got so many things that we can do offensively," Dalton said. "Even if there was a way to defend us I wouldn't be saying it. We get a bunch of different looks, though."
Jones' four touchdowns set a franchise record for single-game touchdown receptions and equaled the franchise record for most touchdowns in a game, set previously by running backs Larry Kinnebrew and Corey Dillon. Jones caught eight passes for 122 yards, his first career 100-yard game. He had three touchdown receptions coming into the game.
Dalton threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jones on the opening drive of the game and then found tight end Jermaine Gresham for a 4-yard touchdown on Cincinnati's second possession and a 14-0 lead. Dalton and Jones also connected on touchdown passes of 6 and 14 yards in the first half as the Bengals took a 28-6 lead to the locker room. They added their fourth touchdown in the third quarter, a 6-yard pass in which Jones took a short throw and did most of the work himself to give the Bengals a 42-9 lead.
"(Dalton) was just looking at the coverage and the guys off," said Jones. "It was just a good throw pertaining to how the coverage was. It was like 'Let's get him another one' but it was good."
Safety Chris Crocker and cornerback Adam Jones returned interceptions for touchdowns against Smith in the second half. Crocker stepped in front of wide receiver Jeremy Kerley and returned the interception 32 yards on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter. Adam Jones returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown with 13:09 left in the fourth quarter.
It was the second career interception return for touchdowns for both players.
Smith has now thrown 13 interceptions, three of which have been returned for touchdowns. He also lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown at Tennessee earlier this season.
"I have to do a better job keeping the ball out of the defender's reach so they can't make those types of plays," said Smith.
What the Jets said
"Well, if we don't play better (next week) than we did today, then (heck) yeah, that guy (New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees) will break every record known to man against us. So I think we'll play better." - Head coach Rex Ryan.
What the Bengals said
"I think we've had enough people who have reached out to us and begged us to win one the right way and stop holding on to the end. Hopefully this one calmed them down and they got to relax and enjoy the game a little bit." - Left tackle Andrew Whitworth
What we Learned about the Jets
1. Quarterback Geno Smith continues his up-and-down play. The rookie second-round draft choice has started all eight games for the Jets, which have alternated between wins and losses since they beat Tampa Bay 18-17 to open the season. He's had big moments, such as throwing three touchdowns in a Monday Night Football win at Atlanta but he's also thrown at least one interception in every game except against the Falcons. It's something the Jets will have to live with as Smith matures.
2. The Jets had the No. 4 overall defense coming into the game but allowed 402 yards to the Bengals, their first 400-yard game allowed this season. Dalton's 325 yards passing and five touchdowns were also season highs. The only sack they registered came when Dalton ran out of bounds prior to the line of scrimmage scrambling out of pocket. They host high-powered New Orleans next Sunday.
What we learned about the Bengals
1. Cincinnati is creating separation between itself and the rest of the AFC North halfway through the season. No one else in the division is above .500, and second place Baltimore (3-4) is now 2½ games behind the Bengals. Cincinnati has to go to Miami (3-4) for a Thursday night game this coming week before traveling to Baltimore and hosting Cleveland (3-5) leading up to the bye week.
2. Dalton has responded to his critics with his play during the four-game winning streak. His passer rating has been above 105.9 three straight games, just the second time he's done that in his career. Since a 17-6 loss at Cleveland on Sept. 29, Dalton has completed 89 of 131 passes (67.9 percent) for 1,246 yards, 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He's playing at an elite level during this stretch.