Nugent's 47-yarder field goal leads Bengals past Jets 23-22
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. >> Andy Dalton got hit hard by the New York Jets, early and often. In the end, the quarterback and the rest of the Cincinnati Bengals were the ones standing.
Mike Nugent kicked a 47-yard field goal with 54 seconds left, lifting the Bengals to a back-and-forth 23-22 season-opening victory Sunday.
Dalton threw for 366 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked a career-high seven times by the Jets, including 2 1/2 by Leonard Williams and two by Steve McLendon.
"Any time you can get a win on the road, you've got to take these games," Dalton said. "This one was big."
A.J. Green caught 12 passes for 180 yards, mostly against Darrelle Revis to help the Bengals beat the Jets for the first time in 10 meetings in New Jersey.
"The whole week everybody was saying A.J. vs. Darrelle," Green said. "Revis is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. It's my honor going against him. I was just trying to make plays anytime the ball came my way."
Josh Shaw sealed the victory with an interception of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the closing seconds, helping Cincinnati improve to 7-7 in openers under coach Marvin Lewis.
Nick Folk kicked a go-ahead 23-yard field goal with 3:23 remaining, but Dalton marched the Bengals (1-0) downfield for the winning drive. The first missed extra point in Folk's career and a blocked 22-yard attempt came back to haunt the Jets (0-1).
Dalton finished 23 of 30 with the TD and an interception, and Jeremy Hill ran for 31 yards and a touchdown. The Bengals took the lead in the third quarter when Hill bulldozed his way up the middle for a 12-yard TD run. The drive was aided by Brandon LaFell's 49-yard catch over Marcus Williams on third-and-18.
The Jets drove to the Bengals 1 on their next possession, but stalled, leaving it to Folk to kick a 20-yard field goal to make it 20-19. After Nugent, a former Jet, was wide right on a 52-yard attempt, the Jets drove down the field and went ahead on Folk's go-ahead 23-yarder.
Fitzpatrick finished 19 of 35 for 189 yards and touchdown passes to Quincy Enunwa and Eric Decker. The Jets were hurt by drives sputtering in the red zone and having to settle for field-goal attempts rather than touchdowns.
"We had our opportunities," Fitzpatrick said. "We were winning in the fourth quarter and we just couldn't shut the door."
The Jets held a pregame tribute for the families and victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga led the entire team out of tunnel carrying the American flag. Moments later, Jets safety Rontez Miles did the same to huge cheers from the MetLife Stadium crowd.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was an honorary captain, along with representatives from the FDNY, NYPD and PAPD and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation. Former wide receivers Wayne Chrebet and Laveranues Coles and linebacker Marvin Jones, members of the Jets' 2001 team, were also at midfield for the pregame coin toss.
Every member of both teams stood on the sideline during the singing of the national anthem.
Jets linebacker David Harris continued his playing streak after being questionable with a bruised shoulder. He started his 117th straight regular-season game.
Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert was out, still recovering from an ankle injury in the Pro Bowl. He was replaced in the starting lineup by C.J. Uzomah.
The Jets rotated backups Ben Ijalana and Brent Qvale at right tackle with starter Breno Giacomini out for at least six weeks with a back injury.
Matt Forte, signed as a free agent in the offseason, ran for 96 yards on 22 carries for the Jets, and caught five passes for 59 yards.
Folk's missed extra point went wide right after a 15-yard touchdown catch by Decker with 9:38 left in the first half — ending a streak of 312 straight made PATs.
Folk had set the NFL record for most extra points without a miss with 322 overall, including the playoffs. The reliable veteran, who held off Duke rookie Ross Martin in training camp, also had a 22-yard attempt blocked in the first quarter by Margus Hunt's tip of a low kick.
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