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

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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