It is likely that adjectives harsher than the ones Julian McGrath spoke in “Big Daddy” were used across the country Sunday when describing the New York Jets, especially among the thousands of sports bettors who were eliminated from NFL survivor pools following their 34-31 upset of the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Jets (2-5) became the first double-digit underdog to record an outright victory in the NFL this season. In fact, no team that was an underdog by more than 7.5 points won outright through the first seven weeks. New York looked poised to again contribute to that total, as Mike White was making his first NFL start at quarterback for injured rookie Zach Wilson.
The early lookahead lines before Wilson was injured had the Bengals as 4-point favorites, but that jumped to -9.5 when betting began in earnest Oct. 24 after the Bengals (6-2) flattened the Baltimore Ravens 41-13 on the road, while the Jets were overrun 54-13 at New England. Money poured in on Cincinnati during the week, driving the line to the Bengals -11.5 by kickoff as they looked to complete a three-game road sweep.
White, however, had other plans. He led the Jets on their first first-quarter touchdown drive of the season, staking them to a 7-0 lead. But interceptions on New York’s next two possessions, as part of a run in which the Jets had three giveaways in five possessions, seemed to point to the “same old Jets” as the Bengals grabbed a 17-7 lead late in the first half.
An unlikely rally and blown call create Cincinnati chaos
LEVELS. BIG LEVELS. @boutdat_23 extends the lead to 11.
Watch on CBS pic.twitter.com/n9Ax2PsH5v
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 31, 2021
The Bengals kept the Jets at arm’s length for most of the second half and even looked like they had a chance of covering after Joe Burrow’s third touchdown pass provided a 31-20 advantage with 7:29 to play. At the 4:50 mark, ESPN’s real-time win probability chart had the Bengals with a 98.5% likelihood of victory, as the Jets faced a 1st-and-10 at the Cincinnati 22 down two scores.
Two plays later, though, White hooked up with Ty Johnson on a 19-yard touchdown, though the Jets still trailed 31-26 after failing on the two-point conversion. Defensive end Shaq Lawson then delivered a huge defensive play, intercepting Burrow to give New York the ball at the Cincinnati 13. Another two plays later, White this time found Tyler Kroft wide open in the end zone, and the Jets ran a variant of the “Philly Special” for the two-point conversion, with White catching a pass from wide receiver Jamison Crowder to make it 34-31 with 3:50 to go.
The Bengals reached their own 40 on the ensuing possession, but were forced to punt with 2:19 to play. The Jets showed then why they entered the game 1-5, as they could not get their offense aligned on a 2nd-and-6, calling timeout to stop the clock before the two-minute warning and then throwing an incomplete pass that made it 3rd-and-6 while the Bengals still had all of their timeouts.
Then came one of the most controversial penalty calls of the NFL season: a helmet-to-helmet infraction against the Bengals when it was clear the Jets’ runner initiated the head-to-head contact. The penalty provided a fresh set of downs and allowed White, who finished with 405 passing yards, and the Jets to run out the clock for the victory — decimating survivor pools in staggering fashion.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 31, 2021
The howls of outrage across the Twitter landscape were loud, amplified, and intensified by some of the bigger celebrity names of sports wagering:
Listen – the refs flagged the wrong guy for initiating the helmet to helmet but it’s not like it swung a billion money line parlays and eliminator pools. Gross.
— Cousin Sal (@TheCousinSal) October 31, 2021
The personal foul in Jets Bengals game is a fireable offense in my mind. That ref can’t be trusted and needs to be eliminated. Changed the course of history with that call. Worst call I’ve ever seen. #whodey
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) October 31, 2021
— VegasMatty (@Vegas_Matty) October 31, 2021
The carnage … oh, the carnage
All told, the swath of destruction was widespread. More than 40% of Circa’s survivor pool entries for Week 8 were riding the Bengals. And given how many other entrants are riding a slumping Kansas City Chiefs team — also a double-digit favorite — at home Monday night against New York’s other semi-hapless pro football team, there is a chance that Circa could lose three-quarters of its pool thanks to the Jets and Giants.
— Circa Sports (@CircaSports) October 31, 2021
So. Much. Blood.
Jets were the FIRST underdog of more than 7 pts to win outright this season.
I’m in 5 different Survivor pools and CIN made up 37-43% of the field. 871 entries (41%) in #CircaSurvivor were on the Bengals.
— Joe Ostrowski (@JoeOstrowski) October 31, 2021
Of course, not everyone was broken up about seeing such chaos unfold. And others who survived unscathed may want to think twice about picking the Indianapolis Colts, who host the Jets to start Week 9 on Thursday night.
I also love that the New York Jets are knocking so many people out of their Survival Pool
First the Titans now the Bengals 🔥
— 𝙅𝙀𝙏𝙎 𝙈𝙀𝘿𝙄𝘼🛫 (@NYJets_Media) November 1, 2021
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