The Jets prove they’re no fluke, dominate Bengals

The Bengals don’t have any excuses for losing this time: They were flat out dominated in their 24-14 loss to the Jets in the opening round of the playoffs on Saturday.

After they lost 37-0 in New York last Sunday night, the Bengals could have used the excuse that they had nothing to play for and were short-handed on both sides of the ball. But today they had everything to play for and they were abused in all phases of the game from the second quarter on. In fact, outside of taking a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter, they seemed to play with little fire or emotion.

Cincinnati didn’t take advantage of any of the opportunities it was given today. They blew two timeouts because of poor coaching challenges, Shayne Graham missed two field goals in the second half and they allowed Mark Sanchez to complete 12 of his 15 pass attempts for 182 yards and one touchdown. The Bengals allowed a rookie quarterback making his first postseason start on the road to rack up a 139.4 QB Rating. That stat speaks for itself.

Regardless of whether you think he’s cocky, arrogant or boastful, you have to give Rex Ryan credit. His defense continues to be one of the best units in the league year in and year out, and he won his first postseason game as a head coach with a rookie quarterback. That’s not easy to do.

If the Patriots beat the Ravens tomorrow, Ryan’s next challenge will be to figure out Peyton Manning and the Colts. The Jets won in Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago, but that was also the game Manning and most of the Colts’ starters were pulled early in the second half. And if you remember correctly, Manning was shredding the Jets’ vaunted defense before he came out, so Ryan and company face quite a challenge next weekend if they do wind up playing Indy.

If Baltimore wins tomorrow, then the Jets will face a Chargers team that can light up the scoreboard just as well as the Colts can. Either way, Ryan’s defense will get a stiff test next weekend.

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Rex Ryan to stick with Mark Sanchez

According to a report by the New York Daily News, Rex Ryan won’t bench struggling rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez in favor for Kellen Clemens.

Sanchez has followed poor outing after poor outing the past couple months and is now only two interceptions behind league-leader Jay Cutler. Sanchez has also seen his completion percentage drop to 52.1 as the Jets have lost six of their last seven games.

But wasn’t all this expected? Just because Sanchez and the Jets got off to a hot start doesn’t mean that it was going to last all season. After all, he’s a rookie quarterback that didn’t have a ton of experience in college and is struggling in his first year. That’s not uncommon.

It’s important that Ryan stick with Sanchez and see him through the rest of the year. If Sanchez can get through this season, then he’ll see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that he can play in this league. But he needs to learn from the mistakes that he’s making or else he’ll never develop. It’s Ryan’s job to do everything he can to help Sanchez transition to the next level, which includes supporting him when he isn’t playing well.

Confidence is everything to a young quarterback. Ryan chose Sanchez to be his starter in preseason and unless the young signal caller turns into Ryan Leaf over the next couple weeks, then he should remain the starter. Don’t forget that Peyton Manning struggled in his first season with the Colts, yet he remained the starter the entire season. I’m not trying to compare the two players, but the situations could wind up being similar in the end if Ryan allows Sanchez to suffer through his growing pains.

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