EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - To a man the Bengals said they came out flat after blowing an 11-point lead with 7:29 left to the 1-5 Jets. They turned quarterback Mike White into a Jets legend after allowing him to ring up 511 yards in his first NFL start in Sunday's 34-31 loss at Met Life Stadium.
The Bengals fell to 5-3 after not being able to win their third straight on the road.
"We were outcoached and outschemed," said head coach Zac Taylor. "We're still in good shape if we take care of business."
Quarterback Joe Burrow, who threw three more touchdowns, including a third-down 10-yarder to slot receiver Tyler Boyd with 7:29 left to put the Bengals up, 31-20, said his team had a good week of practice, "but we came out flat."
The Bengals had the ball with 4:36 left and the lead, but unlike against Detroit and Baltimore they couldn't run the ball to kill the clock. The Jets stuffed them on 41 yards on 16 carries and Burrow went to a screen pass to wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase. But tackle Shaq Lawson leaped, tipped it and picked it off at the Bengals 14 to set up the winning score.
"He made a good play," Burrow said. "Not really anything different for anybody to do there. He just made a good play on the ball."
- The Bengals' top 10 defense was stunned in a season they were the only NFL team not to allow more than 25 points in a game. They let White unleash 37 of 44 passes for 405 yards, almost all barely ten yards down field as the Bengals failed to tackle well for the first time all year. The defense that shut down Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson just last week allowed White to join Cam Newton as the only quarterbacks to throw for 400 yards in their first NFL start.
"He was getting the ball out really fast," said defensive end Sam Hubbard. "We felt like we couldn't run any games because he got rid of the ball so fast. He ran the offense very efficiently. We were surprised by that."
But it was the tackling. Or lack of it. Taylor said he wanted to know how many of those 511 yards came after contact.
"There was a lot of screens, misdirections, check downs and we missed tackles," Hubbard said. "That's what the game plan was. No excuse for our mental errors and every player on defense could have made a play or made mistakes that cost us, including me.
"I think that it's a wakeup call for sure. Any team can beat anybody on any given Sunday and we learned today a very valuable lesson that won't be forgotten."
View some of the best game action photos in the Week 8 matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals versus the New York Jets.
- Boyd, running back Joe Mixon and safety Jessie Bates III all appeared on the postgame podium "to show we've got each other's back."
"We're pissed off," Bates said. "We're pissed off we gave up 34 points."
They were told not to talk about the personal foul called on slot cornerback Mike Hilton, a rarely called helmet-to-helmet tackle on third down that would have given the Bengals' one last shot. Instead the Jets ran out the clock.
And they had Hilton's back.
"You'll turn on any game in this whole world and you'll see that same exact play," Bates said. "Cover Two happens at least 10 times a game. For them to call that in that situation of the game obviously sucks, but we can't let it get to that point."
Official Craig Wrolstad took questions from Pro Football Writers of America rep Paul Dehner, Jr. Dehner asked what Hilton seemed to ask on the field.
"What did you want me to do?"
"I'm not here to verse you on how to tackle properly, but the rule is that you cannot lower your head to initiate contact on a player with your helmet." Wrolstad said. "So, he can hit him with his shoulder, I suppose."