Wide Receiver Brad Smith may not be among the most well known members of the New York Jets, but he certainly put a smile on the faces of Gang Green supporters on Thanksgiving Eve.
The versatile Smith ran a kickoff back 89 yards for a touchdown (sans a shoe, no less) and scored again on a 53 yard rush from scrimmage to pace the Jets to a 26-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Jets improved their record to 9-2 and will now face the equally impressive New England Patriots next Monday night to determine ownership of the AFC East.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez, coming off twin performances that seemed to elevate him to the upper ranks of current signal-callers, slipped a bit against the undermanned Bengals, throwing for only 166 yards and a touchdown to go along with a horribly timed interception.
Running Back Shonn Greene received the lion’s share of the workload out of the backfield, toting the ball 18 times for 70 yards. Santonio Holmes led the receiving corps with 5 catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.
Rex Ryan’s ferocious defense kept Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer in check, intercepting him twice and sacking him three times while only letting him throw for 135 yards. Cornerback Darrelle Revis, referred to by Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens as “average” earlier in the week, proved to be anything but as he limited the talkative T.O to just 17 yards on three receptions.
If the Jets are to prove their worth as one of the favorites to emerge from the AFC as a contender for the Super Bowl, a huge step would be to beat New England next week.
Smith should bring multiple pairs of cleats for that tussle.
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Written by Frank Mazzola