Dalton leads Bengals to win
CINCINNATI – Marvin Jones usually tosses his receiver gloves into the stands on his way to the locker room, a way of letting fans share in the moment.
This pair – and this moment – was all his.
Jones caught four of Andy Dalton’s career-high five touchdown passes on Sunday as the Cincinnati Bengals drubbed the New York Jets 49-9, a dominant performance that will turns heads around the NFL.
As Jones ran off the field, he turned down the fans who wanted a keepsake glove.
“I’m keeping those,” said Jones, who had career highs with eight catches for 122 yards. “I’ll frame ’em or whatever. I usually dish them out. Not this game.”
The second-year receiver and third-year quarterback went into the club’s record book as its top touchdown combination. Jones set a Bengals record for touchdown receptions, scoring on catches of 9, 6, 17 and 6 yards. He’s the first NFL receiver with four touchdown catches in a game since Randy Moss and Terrell Owens did it in 2007.
Dalton’s five touchdown passes gave him 11 in his last three games, his best such span. He’s the first quarterback to throw for five TDs against the Jets since Dan Marino in 1988.
“This is where I want to be,” said Dalton, who was 19 of 30 for 325 yards in little more than three quarters. “This is how I want to be playing. It’s tough to do.”
The Bengals (6-2) won their fourth in a row and padded their AFC North lead by taking advantage of New York’s step-slow pass defense and its rookie quarterback, who had his worst day yet. Geno Smith threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns before heading to the bench early in the fourth quarter.
It was Cincinnati’s most lopsided victory during coach Marvin Lewis’ 11 seasons. The Bengals are 2 games ahead of second-place Baltimore, which had its bye week.
“It is a statement,” defensive end Carlos Dunlap said. “This is one of the first games we were able to finish because we jumped on them early. This was just a statement game.”
New York (4-4) couldn’t break its pattern of win-one, lose-one. The Jets took their most lopsided loss since a 45-3 loss to New England in 2010.
“It’s been up-down, up-down all year,” said Smith, who was 20 of 30 for 159 yards. “That’s the way it’s been so far. Sometimes we do it, other times we don’t. That’s a part of developing consistency.”
This one slipped away fast.
The Bengals got touchdowns on their first two possessions while the Jets managed only 1 net yard in the first quarter – their fewest for a quarter since 2009.
The Bengals figured they could take advantage of New York’s man-to-man coverage by throwing deep. Dalton’s line gave him plenty of time and he was on target most of the time, setting up a lot of big plays.
The biggest came from Jones, a fifth-round draft pick with a lot of speed. In his breakout game, he showed a good pair of hands and a few nifty moves, too. His 30-yard catch set up Dalton’s 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jermaine Gresham, who was uncovered in the back of the end zone.
A.J. Green also had two catches that went for more than 50 yards each as Dalton showed he can complete the long throw – one of his biggest deficiencies in his first two seasons.
“I would say that absolutely surprised me,” coach Rex Ryan said of his defense’s collapse. “We got beat in every coverage known to man. Five touchdown passes? I don’t know how many times that’s happened in my lifetime. Not very often.”
Smith showed he’s still got an awful lot to learn. With the Jets trailing 28-6 coming out of halftime, Smith made two more glaring mistakes.
Chris Crocker returned his first pass of the second half 32 yards for a touchdown. Early in the fourth quarter, Adam “Pacman” Jones ran another back 60 yards for a score, sidestepping the diving Smith to reach the end zone.