Bengals 24

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Jets 31

(1-0, 1-0 home)

1:00 PM ET, September 12, 2004


1 2 3 4 T
CIN 7 3 7 724
NYJ 14 0 10 731

Martin also scores twice for N.Y.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- When Curtis Martin ran up the 200 steps from the Santa Monica beach during the spring, he had this in mind.

When he asked for more work during training camp, he had this in mind. When he asked for more carries in the preseason, he had this in mind: a brilliant start to the season and a victory for the New York Jets.

Allen's Analysis

Eric Allen

Should we expect a big year from Curtis Martin (196 rushing yards) or was this more of an aberration?

Martin is on record stating that he was going to get 1,500 yards for the season. A lot of people scoffed at him because he's reached the age of 30, and he's been a heavily used back since he got into the league. Those same critics also pointed at last year's lack of production from him.

Personally, I believe he has the ability to have a big season because he won't be the center of the defense's attention anymore. Last season Jets' quarterback Chad Pennington was out for most of the season, and Martin had Vinny Testaverde as his QB. Now no offense to Testaverde, but defenses didn't respect him like they did Pennington and Martin paid the cost by seeing a lot of eight man fronts. This season with Pennington back and weapons at receiver like Santana Moss, opposing defenses have to be honest. For that reason I won't be surprised if he continues to make them pay and has a big season.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

Martin had 29 carries for 196 yards and scored on a 24-yard run and 3-yard catch, helping the Jets ruin the debut of 2003 No. 1 draft pick Carson Palmer with a 31-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

"I knew I was prepared," Martin said. "I knew that I was ready. When you know you're ready, your confidence is higher."

It soared during the game, taking away the hype from Palmer, who made his regular-season NFL debut. The Heisman Trophy winner commanded the offense well and made few mistakes, going 18-of-27 for 248 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

But trailing 31-24 with two minutes remaining, Palmer made his biggest miscue. From his 49, Palmer heaved a pass for Chad Johnson. But rookie safety Erik Coleman stormed in and intercepted it, sealing the victory.

"We came here expecting to win," Palmer said. "We had what we needed. We had what we wanted. We had the ball with two minutes to go in good field position and I turned it over. I can't make plays like that for us to win."

Instead, Martin made all the plays. The 31-year-old Martin looked better than he has in years, mainly because of his renewed effort to turn around the way he started off the last two seasons. He decided to climb those stairs in California, and asked coach Herman Edwards for more work.

It worked against the Bengals. Martin ripped off long runs and broke tackles, and that helped open up the offense. Chad Pennington threw for two touchdowns, going 20-of-27 for 224 yards in the first season-opening start of his career.

Last year, it took Martin four games to reach 196 yards. It was his highest rushing total since 2000, when he had 203 yards against Indianapolis.

"He looked about 19," said Santana Moss, who had four catches for 55 yards. "Curtis looked fresh. He was rolling. His preseason was so phenomenal this year, the way he went through camp and did all he did."

With Martin making things look easy, Pennington also got into the action, picking on rookie cornerback Madieu Williams, who started in place of the injured Deltha O'Neal.

Williams gave up a 46-yard touchdown pass from Pennington to Jonathan Carter in the first quarter, and he struggled for most of the game to keep up with the speedy Jets receivers.

"I was in position to make plays and I didn't," Williams said. "I expected them to come at me. We were starting a rookie cornerback in the NFL, and you are going to get tested."

The Bengals trailed 14-10 at halftime and hoped to get ahead with the first possession of the third quarter. But Sam Cowart stripped Rudi Johnson of the ball, and Donnie Abraham returned it 41 yards for a touchdown to put the Jets up 21-10.

Palmer led the Bengals back, and his 6-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Watson cut the deficit to 21-17. After a field goal by Doug Brien, Martin essentially put the game out of reach with his 24-yard score to make it 31-17.

Palmer tried to rally the Bengals. He threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Chad Johnson with a little over three minutes to go to bring them within a touchdown. But his final effort was not enough.

"Our football team played to the end," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We're going to correct the mistakes and move forward."

Things started badly for the Jets. Carter fumbled the opening kickoff, and Reggie Myles recovered for the Bengals at the Jets 25. Palmer completed his first NFL pass to Chad Johnson for 6 yards, then converted a third down to set the Bengals up at the 9.

Rudi Johnson scored on a run on the next play to put the Bengals up early. It was their only lead of the game, thanks largely in part to a rejuvenated Martin.

"I feel as though I could go do it again right now," Martin said. When reporters laughed, Martin had one more comeback: "I'm not joking."

Game notes

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was honorary Jets captain for the game. He accompanied Jets captains to midfield for the coin toss. ... Jets CB Jon McGraw (groin), DE Bryan Thomas (hamstring) and Bengals CB Deltha O'Neal (ankle) were inactive. ... Bengals S Rogers Beckett left in the first quarter with a concussion.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

Drive info: 1 plays, 41 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 1 plays, 41 yds, 0:00
cinTD12:40Rudi Johnson, 9 yd run
Drive info: 4 plays, 25 yds, 2:14
Drive info: 4 plays, 25 yds, 2:14
Drive info: 6 plays, 87 yds, 3:44
Drive info: 6 plays, 87 yds, 3:44
Drive info: 5 plays, 77 yds, 2:29
Drive info: 5 plays, 77 yds, 2:29
Drive info: 8 plays, 68 yds, 3:29
nyjTD9:50Curtis Martin, 24 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 65 yds, 3:32
Drive info: 8 plays, 68 yds, 3:29
nyjFG0:35Doug Brien 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 65 yds, 5:40
Drive info: 9 plays, 65 yds, 3:32
Drive info: 11 plays, 72 yds, 4:10
cinFG3:21Shayne Graham 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 55 yds, 5:36
Drive info: 11 plays, 72 yds, 4:10