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Bengals beat Jets 17-6 in Tebow's NY debut

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CINCINNATI (AP)

Tim Tebow didn't do much in his Jets debut to get the fans back in New York excited. Same goes for the rest of the new-look offense.

No matter who took the snaps, they spent a lot of time running around and getting nowhere.

Tebow threw an interception during his two-quarter debut on Friday night, and the rest of the Jets' offense struggled as well in a 17-6 preseason loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

''The big plays will come to us,'' said Mark Sanchez, who went 4 of 6 for 21 yards in the first quarter before yielding to Tebow.

''The running game will get going and things will open up in the passing game. We're not game-planning for this, so a couple of things caught us off-guard.''

The Jets (No. 17 in the AP Pro32) have reconfigured the offense under new coordinator Tony Sparano. They didn't show any of the wildcat-style packages they've installed during training camp.

The Bengals (No. 14) got steady pressure on Tebow and the rest of the Jets quarterbacks, giving them little time to do much of anything except scramble.

''I did some things pretty good,'' said Tebow, who was 4 of 8 for 27 yards with an interception on his final throw. ''Obviously I want that last throw back. I tried to put it low and outside. Just a stupid play by me.''

Tebow also ran three times for 34 yards, avoiding sacks each time.

''I liked the poise he showed,'' coach Rex Ryan said. ''Obviously, (he) made some big runs and that's what we say he can do. If you want to come after him, you better get to him. In time, he'll kill you running and that's what he did.''

The crowd of 44,161 at Paul Brown Stadium booed loudly, and photo flashes went off around the stadium when Tebow jogged onto the field. He got the same reception in 2010, when he made his pro debut in a preseason game with Denver in Cincinnati.

Tebow completed his first pass, a 12-yarder to second-round draft pick Stephen Hill, who's aiming for a starting spot across from Santonio Holmes. Tebow scrambled twice for a total of 24 yards on a drive to Josh Brown's 42-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, Tebow forced a throw that linebacker Vontaze Burfict intercepted.

''I feel like I'm getting better,'' Tebow said. ''Today was one more stride in getting better. I feel like my timing and rhythm were pretty good for the most part.''

Perhaps his worst moment came when the Jets came up short on third down with Tebow forgot about his new role as protector of the punter on special teams.

''I thought, `Oh, shoot, I'm out there,' so I just sprinted out there and got out there a few seconds late because for the first time in my life, I was out there on special teams,'' he said. ''So I've got to remember that.''

The Bengals got a pair of touchdowns from reserve running back Cedric Peerman, who recovered a blocked punt in the end zone and scored on a 1-yard run. They came away with concerns about three starters lost to injuries.

Left guard Travelle Wharton appeared to be the most seriously hurt. He went down while pass blocking on Cincinnati's third play and was taken off the field on a cart with an injured right knee and went for medical testing. Clint Boling replaced him. Wharton signed with the Bengals as a free agent last March.

On the next series, middle linebacker Rey Maualuga and defensive end Carlos Dunlap limped off with assistance after hurting their right knees. Maualuga didn't return, but walked around the sideline freely.

''He and Carlos are similar - one's a little more severe than the other,'' coach Marvin Lewis said. ''Both had knee sprains. Travelle, I didn't hear where they were with his scans, but we'll know later.''

Maualuga said his injury isn't severe.

''It was a little scary, but thank God that I got some positive news from the doctors,'' he said. ''I'll be back in a couple of days.''

The Bengals are looking for an outside receiver to complement Pro Bowler A.J. Green. Armon Binns had a diving 16-yard catch in the second quarter. Brandon Tate stretched for a 14-yard reception later in the same drive. Both receivers finished with two catches for 24 yards.

''You can see they're talented and they've got a chip on their shoulders,'' Green said.

Pro Bowl quarterback Andy Dalton played the first quarter and completed 4 of 9 for 54 yards with a passer rating of 64.1.

NOTES: The replacement officials had a couple of tough moments. They spotted the ball incorrectly after one play and had to quickly move it about 4 yards ahead before the next snap. Referee Jerry Frump announced that a play was under review coming out of a two-minute warning, then corrected that ''It was just a test.'' ... Holmes was among the Jets players who didn't play - he's got sore ribs. ... NY S Eric Smith hurt his left hip and knee in the second quarter and left the game. X-rays were negative.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Tagged: Bengals, Jets, Travelle Wharton, Rey Maualuga, Tim Tebow

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