The Bengals will be seeking their first win of the season on Sunday when they face the N.Y. Jets at MetLife Stadium. Cincinnati is 0-2 on the young season, with both losses coming on a field goal as time expired. Week 1 saw the Bengals miss two potential game-winning kicks of their own, before Pittsburgh K Chris Boswell nailed a 53-yarder at the end of overtime. Last Sunday, Cincinnati climbed back from a 17-3 deficit at Dallas, but Cowboys QB Cooper Rush engineered a late drive to set up a 50- yard FG from K Brett Maher with no time remaining in the fourth quarter. While consecutive losses to begin the season is not what the Bengals envisioned entering September, head coach Zac Taylor remains confident in his team's ability to bounce back this week at New York. "When you haven't won a game, the outside world is going to react how they should until you win," said Taylor. "That's just part of what we signed up for. That part is what's so great about being in the arena. You just continue to work hard, and good things will happen when you trust the process and trust in what you're putting in. I've got a lot of belief in this team. Until you win, the narrative is going to be the narrative, and that's fine. I think these guys enjoy being in the foxhole with each other."
The Bengals responded to their 14-point deficit in Dallas with strong play in all three phases to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati's defense forced three punts and had a momentum-shifting turnover when a fumble caused by S Vonn Bell was recovered by DT DJ Reader near the Bengals' 30-yard line. QB Joe Burrow and the offense found a rhythm in the third quarter, working the ball into range for a pair of Evan McPherson FGs to make it a one-possession game. The Bengals later logged a 19-play, 83-yard drive which took 8:54 off the clock. The drive ended with Burrow scrambling out of pressure and finding WR Tee Higgins for a five-yard TD, marking Burrow's 50th career TD pass.
It capped off an impressive day for Higgins, who logged six catches for 71 yards all in the second half. On the ensuing two-point attempt, Burrow scanned the end zone and found a wide open WR Tyler Boyd to knot it up at 17. The drive featured three third-down conversions and an eight-yard completion to WR Ja'Marr Chase on a fourth-and-six. According to Burrow, the balanced attack shown during that possession offered a glimpse into how the offense should operate throughout a game.
"That's how it's supposed to look," said Burrow. "That's what we need the whole game. Whatever we have to do to move the chains on third down, find those completions, we're going to need a lot of drives like that with the way defenses are playing us. We have to bank that one and remember how it feels."
After another three-and-out forced by the Bengals defense, highlighted by a Sam Hubbard sack and a batted pass by DT B.J. Hill, the Cincinnati offense got the ball back with 2:13 left and a chance to win the game. But an impressive tackle by Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs on a third-and-three sent Burrow back to the sideline. On the following possession, Rush completed three straight passes in less than 30 seconds to set up Dallas in FG range, and Maher drilled his 50- yard attempt through the uprights to seal the result. Though the loss was felt in the Cincinnati locker room postgame, the Bengals remain encouraged by their efforts in the second half, knowing that a win was well within reach in both of their first two contests. "We're never going to tap out," said Hubbard. "We've just got to get off to a better start, not put ourselves in those positions, and I'm confident we will."
The Jets enter Sunday's game with a 1-1 record, and are coming off a remarkable Week 2 victory at Cleveland in which they erased a 30-17 deficit with under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. QB Joe Flacco, who passed for 307 yards and four TDs against the Browns, found WR Garrett Wilson for a 22-yard score with 22 seconds left, and the extra point by Greg Zuerlein gave New York a 31-30 win.