Bengals beat Tebow, Jets in preseason opener
CINCINNATI (AP) — Tim Tebow picked up some yards by running around a few times after avoiding a sack. Other than that, there wasn’t much in his Jets debut.
Certainly nothing to spark any mania back in New York.
And that goes for the Jets’ new offense as a whole.
Tebow had his best moments while scrambling behind reserves on the Jets’ line Friday night. He completed only four passes and threw an interception on his final try during the Cincinnati Bengals’ 17-6 preseason victory.
The Jets (No. 17 in the AP Pro32) let their celebrated newcomer play the second quarter and most of the third. He led the Jets to a field goal and completed 4 of 8 passes for 27 yards with one interception, which translated to a passer rating of 18.2.
The Bengals (No. 14) got a lot of 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,” Tebow said. “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.”
All of the Jets’ quarterbacks ended up moving around as the Bengals’ blitzes threw a few speed bumps into New York’s first game under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. The Jets didn’t show any of the wildcat-style packages they’ve installed during training camp.
“The big plays will come to us,” said Mark Sanchez, who went 4 of 6 for 21 yards in the first quarter. “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 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.
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.
That game ended with Tebow leaving a mark. He ran over Kyries Hebert for a 7-yard touchdown scramble on the final play of the game, leaving the safety woozy in the end zone with his mouthpiece on the ground.
He rumbled around Paul Brown Stadium again on Friday, though the Jets were more interested in seeing him complete throws.
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.
Tebow started the third quarter and forced a throw that linebacker Vontaze Burfict intercepted.
Perhaps his worst moment came after the Jets’ first series on offense, when he forgot that he was supposed to get onto the field and protect the punter — a new role for him in camp.
“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’ 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. 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. The linebacker said after the game that he thinks he’ll be all right.
“We’ve got a couple of injuries that we’ll have to deal with,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “I’m not going to elaborate more right now.”
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 2-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.