Cincinnati, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Amid the highly anticipated Jets debut by Tim Tebow, the Cincinnati Bengals opened the preseason with 17-6 rout of New York Friday night at Paul Brown Stadium that proved costly.
Reserve running back Cedric Peerman had a pair of TDs to lead Cincinnati to its first exhibition win over the Jets since 1985.
The rare win moved the Bengals to 4-5 in their all-time preseason series with the Jets, but it resulted to injuries to four Cincinnati starters – left guard Travelle Wharton, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, linebacker Rey Maualuga and safety Taylor Mays.
Wharton, who signed with the Bengals as a free agent last March, was the most seriously hurt. He had to be carted off the field with right knee injury on Cincy’s third offensive snap of the game.
Wharton is likely lost for the year, a huge impact on the Bengals offensive line.
Clint Boling, who is entering his second year after three starts at right guard last season, saw fist team snaps after Wharton went down. Second-year player Otis Hudson, listed on the depth chart as Wharton’s backup, could also be called to action because in Wharton’s absence.
On the next series, Maualuga and Dunlap had to be helped off the field after both sustained right knee injuries.
Maualuga did not return, but walked around the sideline with assistance. He indicated after the game that he’ll be all right and would be ready to practice Sunday.
Dunlap, on the other hand, is possibly out for the rest of the preseason. It would mark the third straight camp that Dunlap has to contend with injuries.
Meanwhile, there are indications that Mays sustained a concussion. Mays was knocked out of the game with a head injury early in second quarter, which gave Jeromy Miles some extended playing time.
On Friday, third-year player Peerman had both Bengals TDs, finishing with seven carries for 30 yards on seven carries. Peerman, a stalwart on Cincy’s special teams last season, also recovered the ball on Dan Skuta’s blocked punt T.J. Conley and then had a 1-yard run off right tackle on the first drive of the second half.
Pro Bowler Andy Dalton, who started the game for the Bengals, played in the first quarter and completed 4-for-9 for 54 yards in two drives. Bruce Gradkowski entered next and went 5-of-10 passes for 86 yards in almost two quarters of work.
Mark Sanchez started for the Jets, completing 4-of-6 passes for 21 yards through two drives.
Though he didn’t totally lived up to the hype, newcomer Tebow provided a few impressive moments and his night ended with an ugly interception.
Tebow, who played majority of the second and third quarters, led the Jets to a field goal and completed 4 of 8 passes for 27 yards with one interception, translating to a passer rating of 18.2.
Apart from using him on punt coverage, the Jets did not reveal any special packages for Tebow, who managed to do what he does best – -running around the pocket, dodging tacklers and making something out of nothing.
Tebow worked exclusively with the second-team offense and there were no designed runs, no Wildcat plays.
It marked the first win in a preseason opener since 2008 for the Bengals, who are coming off an 8-8 campaign last year. Cincinnati missed the playoffs for the first time since Rex Ryan took over as head coach in 2009.