EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Cincinnati Bengals are not known for being the most disciplined team in the National Football League. But the Bengals were cool, calm and collected when it mattered most Sunday afternoon.
While Nugent's final field goal went down as the game-winner, his second field goal was the one that required the exact precision that is not always a strong suit of the Bengals.
The field goal team scrambled on to the field, lined up and snapped the ball with one second on the clock even though an official slipped and fell to the left of holder Kevin Huber. Nugent's 21-yard field goal sailed through the uprights to pull the Bengals within 16-13.
"Great execution by our guys," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. "Getting out there, getting set. You don't get to practice that in that situation very often."
It was actually the second time in two seasons the Bengals have converted a pivotal field goal in such a situation. Against the Seattle Seahawks last October, Nugent nailed a 31-yard field goal as time expired in regulation to force overtime in a game the Bengals would win, 27-24.
In addition, Nugent said the Bengals practiced their end-of-game field goal situation earlier in the week.
"Marvin and (special teams coordinator Darrin) Simmons, they do a great job of covering that," Nugent said. "There's nothing that's going to happen on the field that we're like 'Oh my gosh we haven't gone over this."
The Bengals also exhibited some poise after Jets kicker Nick Folk booted a 23-yard field goal to give New York a 22-20 lead with 3:25 left. Dalton, who was sacked seven times but went 23-of-30 for 366 yards with one touchdown and one interception, drove Cincinnati 55 yards in eight plays - four rushes, four passes - to set up Nugent's game-winner, which capped a game that saw five lead changes.
The Jets got the ball back at their own 25-yard-line, but cornerback Josh Shaw intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick on third down to seal the victory.
"At the end, we needed to make a play," Dalton said. "Offense was able to make a play. Special teams made the kick. And defense got a turnover to win it. Great team effort by everybody."
The win in the season opener provided a bit of a redemption for the Bengals, who made the playoffs for the fifth straight season last year but suffered an 18-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC wild card game in January after linebacker Vontaze Burfict (personal foul) and cornerback Adam Jones (unsportsmanlike conduct) were flagged on the same play to set up the game-winning field goal. Cincinnati has not won a playoff game since 1991, the longest drought in the NFL.
"So many factors go into this game and the reason that we won," Dalton said. "You never know what play it's going to be that determines the outcome of the game."
Fitzpatrick was 19-of-35 for 189 yards and two touchdowns for the Jets, who scored just 20 points on five trips inside the Bengals' 20-yard-line. Folk missed a PAT - his first miss after opening his career with 312 straight conversions - following New York's second touchdown while another drive ended with Folk's 22-yard field goal attempt being blocked.
"I feel like I let the team down," Folk said. "If we make the extra point and the field goal, they need a touchdown at the end."
The second of Folk's three field goals came after New York failed to score on a first-and-goal from the 3.
"We had a bunch of times to win the ballgame offensively, defensively and on special teams," Jets head coach Todd Bowles said. "Each group made their mistakes, but we're not going to sit here and lick our wounds."
NOTES: The Bengals improved to 23-26 in season openers while the Jets fell to 26-30. ... The Jets' inactives were led by rookie OLB Jordan Jenkins (calf), who was listed as the starter on the depth chart. Mike Catapano, a native of nearby Long Island who went to college at Princeton, drew the start. ... The Bengals' inactives were led by TE Tyler Eifert (ankle), who is recovering from an injury sustained in the Pro Bowl. ... The Jets opened at home for the seventh straight season, the longest streak in the NFL. ... Bengals QB Andy Dalton became the fourth quarterback in franchise history to start six straight openers, joining Ken Anderson (1972-77), Boomer Esiason (1986-92) and Carson Palmer (2004-10).