CINCINNATI -- The New York Jets are no fluke.
Cincinnati Bengals fans tried to justify away what happened in the season finale as the result of circumstances. The Bengals didn't need to win that game. The Bengals rested their players. The Bengals didn't want to show any of their cards heading into the playoffs.
Now they can show their cards to their caddies and their cruise captains because the Jets sent them on vacation for the next few months.
The Jets might've gotten lucky by slipping into the playoffs with a lot of outside help, but they showed they belonged by eliminating the AFC North champs 24-14 in Paul Brown Stadium.
Six days after the Jets shredded the Bengals at the Meadowlands, they did it again in Cincinnati.
The Jets outplayed them at almost every position. Behind an offensive line that boasts three Pro Bowlers, a trio of players with a combined four seasons of NFL experience led the way.
Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez was impressive. He threw only three incomplete passes on 15 attempts for 182 yards and one touchdown.
Rookie running back Shonn Greene ran 21 times for 135 yards and a touchdown.
On each of those scores, second-year tight end Dustin Keller played a significant roll. He caught Sanchez's bootleg toss and rumbled 45 yards into the end zone with a few Bengals on his back. He made the pivotal block to spring Greene on his 39-yard run.
Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer was the lesser USC quarterback. He was 18 of 36 for 146 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Factor in the sacks, and the Bengals finished with 111 net passing yards.