Bengals beaten by familiar foe
By Marc Hardin
FOX Sports Ohio | Bengals Insider
Friday, November 26th, 2010
New York Jets receiver Brad Smith may have an anonymous name, but he's well-known in Cincinnati.
The fifth-year receiver, who scored twice Thursday night on a pair of long touchdowns in the Jets' 26-10 victory, has done this sort of thing before against the Bengals.
Last season, in the finale against Cincinnati, he scored on a 32-yard touchdown and scampered for a 57-yard run out of the "Wildcat" formation and totaled a team-high 92 yards on four carries.
Smith, who was born in Youngstown, Ohio (Chaney High School), seems to save his best for Cincinnati. He did it again, on Thanksgiving, propelling New York to victory at New Meadowlands Stadium with his game-changing, second half plays.
According to Elias Sport Bureau, Smith's 53-yard end-around play and his 89-yard kickoff return made him just the fourth player in NFL history to score on a rushing play of 50 or more yards and on a kickoff return in the same game. The others were Billy "White Shoes" Johnson of the Houston Oilers in 1977, Brian Mitchell of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2000, and Dominic Rhodes of the Indianapolis Colts in 2001. Smith is the first to do it in 10 years.
On the end-around two plays into the second half, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Smith should have been stopped. "That's a play we have to get the guy on the ground," the coach said. "That's a play that just by alignment, we know is coming." Nick Folk's ensuing extra-point kick quickly transformed the Bengals' 7-3 halftime advantage into a 10-7 Jets lead.
The Jets went on to beat the Bengals for the third time in less than 11 months.
PETTREY ON WAY OUT: Kicker Aaron Pettrey is looking like a stopgap acquisition following another field goal miss in the loss to the Jets. Pettrey, in his second game since the loss of Mike Nugent to a season-ending knee injury, missed from 27 yards Thursday on an attempt that would have tied the score at 10. Pettrey missed from 43 yards on Sunday. Both misses have been wide left. He has made two field goals, from 19 and 28 yards. He also has been short on kickoffs. Smith took his return back for a touchdown after fielding the ball on a dead run at the 11. Nugent booted kickoffs into the end zone with regularity. In the wake of Pettrey's woes, coach Lewis confirmed in his Friday news conference that the team is looking to make improvements. "We have to get better there," the coach said.
KICKING CANDIDATES: Veteran Kris Brown was cut by San Diego on Saturday. Former Steeler Jeff Reed has weighed two offers from the Bengals but has not signed. UFL kickers not under contract also can be seen as candidates.
BENGALS GET A BREAK: Cincinnati does not play again until Dec. 5 when the New Orleans Saints come to town for a 1 p.m. game at Paul Brown Stadium. Though it is not a much-deserved breather, as the Bengals are mired in an eight-game losing streak - matching the longest under Lewis - they will take the break and lick their wounds before ramping up in earnest again next week. This is the second eight-game losing streak under Lewis in three years. The Bengals lost eight in a row to begin the 2008 campaign. A loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Saints next week would send Cincinnati to its ninth straight defeat.
ANOTHER LOSING SEASON: With the loss to the Jets, the Bengals clinched a losing season for the third time in four years. In the past 20 years, the Bengals have had two winning seasons (2005 and 2009) and no playoff victories. Under coach Lewis, the Bengals have had two winning seasons, three losing seasons and three break-even seasons. His career record, which was above .500 (56-55-1) at the beginning of 2010, has dropped to 58-64-1. (.479). The Bengals are 23-38 over their last 61 games. (.377).