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Jet fuel

Posted: 6:25 p.m.

Brett Favre hasn't appeared often in Bengals history, but when he has it's been a doozer. Of course, he made his Packers debut against Cincinnati 257 games ago in 1992 when the youngest Bengal, Keith Rivers, was six years old.

Favre capped a comeback over the 2-0 Bengals with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kittrick Taylor as the clock ticked under 15 seconds and the legend was born.

And the last time he played the Bengals, Oct. 30, 2005 at Paul Brown Stadium, his tying touchdown drive was blunted when a fan ran on the field and swiped the ball from him.

He wouldn't talk to the Cincinnati media via conference call Wednesday (guard Alan Faneca did), but he did meet the Jets media and was asked about the Bengals' state of mind at 0-5.



"I doubt it would be," said Favre of players jumping ship. "Marvin Lewis is not only a great coach but has great character, and trying to keep that through tough losses. They took the Giants down to the wire. They easily could have beat Dallas last week.

"It comes down to the type of character you have. They have some outstanding players. I assume that the character in that locker room is very good, then they're going to continue to play in games where they have a chance to win, and they probably will win their share. I hope it's not this week, obviously, but they're a play or two away in each one of these games from winning. That's all you have to point to, and if guys believe that, then they'll be fine."

Favre wasn't the only Jet pumping up the Bengals on Wednesday. The New York Times observed head coach Eric Mangini lauded them for a full four minutes in his news conference. But what to expect from a Bill Belichick disciple?

"In terms of their effort, their finish hasn't necessarily gone the way that I'm sure they wanted it to go, but I see so many positive things on tape looking at Carson Palmer," he said. "He has been in the top 10 in almost every major passing category since he's been the starter. They've got five receivers, really, that can make plays. So it's an explosive group there.

"In terms of running the football, I don't really care what the average has been. Last year, against us, they ran the ball 41 times, 177 yards, 4.2-yard average. Just re-signed (Kenny) Watson. He had 131 yards against us."

Mangini has a good relationship with Lewis. As was documented last year before they played against one another, their offices on the 1996 Ravens staff were across the hall, and Lewis once worked Mangini's summer camp in Hartford, Conn., and Mangini still gets a kick of the image of Lewis working with high school DBs.

"I'd say one of the defining characteristics of Marvin's teams in Marvin's tenure in Cincinnati is the giveaway-takeaway ratio," Mangini said. "They've had 177 takeaways since he's been there, scored 535 points off of those takeaways and have had a plus-38 giveaway-takeaway ratio. All those things are dramatic."

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