EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Spawned by their only turnover of the game, disaster hit the Bengals on Halloween in ghoulish fashion when they blew an 11-point lead Sunday with 7:29 left in the game and took a stunning 34-31 loss at Met Life Stadium to the 2-5 New York Jets.
Jets quarterback Mike White, in his first NFL start, shocked the Bengals' tenth-ranked defense with 37 of 44 passing for 405 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide open former Bengals tight end Tyler Kroft to give the Jets a 32-31 lead with 3:45 left.
Then White delivered the dagger on the two-point conversion when the Jets pulled off the Philly Special and White was all by himself to catch the ball from wide receiver Jamison Crowder.
It was made all the more crushing when Bengals slot cornerback Mike Hilton made a third-down stop on the play after the two-minute warning and was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit. The Bengals never got the ball back. It was the first time the Bengals gave up 25 points all year in an unbelievable shift of fortunes when the Jets rolled up 511 yards.
The Bengals couldn't protect a 31-26 lead with 4:36 left. On Burrow's first snap, he set up a screen for wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, but tackle Shaq Lawson jumped in the air, batted it and caught it at the Cincinnati 14 for the Jets' first interception of the season with 4:32 left in the eighth game.
View some of the best game action photos in the Week 8 matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals versus the New York Jets.
Down 34-31, they had to punt it away with 2:19 left. Right guard Jackson Carman left on a cart in the middle of a frantic Jets effort all around Burrow that dominated the Bengals front all day. Sheldon Rankins finished it off when he dumped him for his third sack on third down to force the punt.
Burrow, 21 of 34 passes for 259 yards and a 102.5 passer rating, converted three third downs in the drive that gave the Bengals a 31-20 lead, one to tight end C.J. Uzomah over the middle and one to wide receiver Tyler Boyd for 20 yards beating one-on-one over the middle in the face of a blitz.
Then on third-and-four from the Jets 10, Burrow had to dance in the pocket and then moved to his right in the scramble drill and saw Boyd breaking off his route heading to the right corner and Burrow sifted it for his third touchdown pass of the day to give the Bengals a 31-20 lead with 7:29 left in the game.
Burrow upped his lead NFL for passes over 40 yards as he negotiated the Bengals to a 24-17 lead with 3:11 left in the third quarter. His patented play action roll out to the right found wide receiver Tee Higgins running deep the other way and Burrow dropped it in between the cornerback and safety for a 46-yard play.
That set up Burrow's immediate eight-yard touchdown pass to Mixon, whipped to the left perimeter and he broke a tackle at the five,giving Burrow at least two touchdown passes in every game this season. Only Burrow and Dan Mario are rookie or second-year quarterbacks who have done that in a season's first eight games.
White, directing the NFL's next-to-last offense to 397 yards midway through the fourth quarter still mystified the Bengals to take the next drive inside the 5, but huge edge play surfaced. Sam Hubbard tackled the run on second down and Trey Hendrickson got the sack on third to force a field goal that kept the Bengals ahead, 24-20.
The Bengals defense faltered on the first series of the second half, but did hold the Jets to a field goal that tied the game at 17. They gave up first a down on third-and-11 on a check-down pass to uncovered running back Michael Carter, rookie defensive end Cam Sample was flagged for roughing White and missed tackles allowed Carter to convert a first down.
The Jets bequeathed the title of the league's slowest starting team to the Bengals. White lit them up for 217 yards on slicing and dicing in the first half while their offense was jammed up. They couldn't score a touchdown on trips to the Jets 1 and Jets 3, they scraped together just 11 rushing yards (41 for the game) and had just 119 yards total and Boyd had a better passer rating than Burrow at 118 at the half with a 46-yarder that was more than half of Burrow's 82 yards passing in the half.
The Bengals couldn't get any push against that vaunted Jets front and allowed four tackles for loss in the half as New York blew up the running game.
But they had a 17-14 halftime lead because of three turnovers on interceptions by free safety Jessie Bates III and linebacker Germaine Pratt and strong safety Vonn Bell's forced fumble and recovery of his own strip.
White hit all seven passes in the first drive of the game for 65 yards and got the Jets their first points in the first quarter all season on a bevy of screens and sweeps and even a double pass that resulted in cornerback Eli Apple's pass interference penalty.
The Bengals went three-and-out on three passes, the first pass being tipped to Chase and it knuckled to him and he couldn't catch it. On third-and-four Chase lined up as a running back and Burrow's pass to Boyd was short of the first on a sure tackle by linebacker C.J. Mosley.
The possession after Bates' interception was horrific after his 65-yard return. They caught him at the Jets 1 and four plays later the ball was on the Jets 15. Mixon lost a yard on each of the first two plays that were runs into the middle of the line and on third down Burrow drilled a strike to Chase in the end zone by the right front pylon and he dropped it. On fourth down, Burrow couldn't find anybody open and took the sack.
White hit first 11 passes, but two of his next three passes were intercepted off tips. On the second one, he led Carter too far and linebacker Germaine Pratt made a diving catch as he scrambled to the Jets 15.
A flip to running back Samaje Perine got their biggest play of the quarter for 13 yards, a quarter that ended with the Bengals amassing just seven yards on ten plays. The Jets had 121 yards on 19 plays and yet on the first play of the second quarter they were tied at 7 when Mixon finally got in from the 1 on a play when he avoided tackle Folorunso Fatukasi charging into the backfield.
Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie had a nice series that ended in Jets rookie kicker Matt Ammendola's missed 54-yard field goal. On second-and-four the Jets tried an end around and Awuzie came up to make a yard loss and on the next snap White nearly threw it to him for his third interception.
But even though that gave them great field position, the Bengals went backward. On second-and-four on play-action, Burrow found nobody open, pumped twice and got sacked. Right tackle Riley Reiff recovered a fumble after Burrow got battered and Burrow looked whoozy before he decided to stay in the game.
After slamming a water bottle and his helmet to the turf, Burrow came back to slam the Jets on the next drive to take the lead at 14-7 with 3:21 left in the first half on a 70-yard skein highlighted by wide receiver Tee Higgins' tremendous one-handed grab of a deep ball despite Velco coverage for 26 yards.
That put the ball on the Jets 2 and from there Burrow and Chase hooked up for the touchdown on the scramble drill when Burrow ripped it to the front left pylon after he avoided a sack.
But they couldn't hammer home a third touchdown when they had second-and-three from the 3. The field position was courtesy of Boyd's screen pass to Mixon off a pass from Burrow and Mixon followed a big block from left guard Quinton Spain for 46 yards down the right sideline.
But after his third-down incompletion from the 3, Burrow jumped up and down when Boyd was wide open and it didn't look like he expected him to throw it where he did with Uzomah standing right next to him.
Since Evan McPherson made the chip-shot field goal on the second snap after the two-minute warning to give the Bengals a 17-7 lead, it marked the sixth time in this season's eighth game the Bengals scored in the final two minutes of the half.
But White swiped their last-second magic when he took the Jets 67 yards in eight plays for a touchdown that made it 17-14 at the half. He spread them out and nickel and dimed them to a third-and-six from the Bengals 8 and then came the killer. He threw a near perfect ball to wide receiver Braxton Berrios on the left sideline and he needed all his toes to stay in for the touchdown with 15 seconds left in the half working on Awuzie.