Geno struggles to find consistency

CINCINNATI -- Of Geno Smith's many disappointments, his effort while Adam Jones returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter of Cincinnati's 49-9 romp punctuated the rookie quarterback's bad Sunday.

"I made a late throw to the sideline," he said about the errant pass. "They always tell you, 'Don't be late to the sideline.' The guy made a good break on the ball and was able to grab it.

"I should've made the tackle, but I shouldn't have forced it in there in the first place."

Instead, the turnover dashed the Jets' hopes for any chance at making a comeback. Smith finished 20-for-30 with 159 yards and no touchdowns. He was sacked three times and threw two pick-sixes, the other of which Chris Crocker returned for a 32-yard touchdown on the Jets' first play of the second half.

"The guy made a good play," Smith said. "It wasn't my best pass, but he made a good play. I have to do a better job of keeping the ball out of defender's reach so they can't make those types of plays."

Smith was pulled for the first time in his career with 13:04 left in the fourth quarter. Coach Rex Ryan said he planned to let Smith play one more series, but he altered the plan after the Bengals scored on Jones' interception return.

Smith was replaced by backup Matt Simms, who made his NFL debut. Simms played three series, completing 3 of 7 passes for 17 yards. He also ended up as the Jets' leading rusher (35 yards), which pretty much tells the story on offense.

"I understand why the decision was made, but I always want to be in the game," Smith said. "I never want to be in a situation where we're down and I have to be pulled from a game. It's always upsetting, but I understand why the decision was made."

The Bengals did nothing defensively that surprised the Jets, Smith said.

"They played their game," he said. "They got us behind early, and their defensive line was able to get after us. They made it tough on us. We have to be able to step up to the plate and get it done on offense, no matter what the circumstances."

Ryan considered Smith's performance to be, well, Jet-like.

"It was like the rest of the team," Ryan said. "Obviously, it was a poor performance on everybody's part."

That's the way it's been all season for Smith and the Jets, who haven't strung together back-to-back wins this season, but have avoided consecutive losses. After throwing for 233 yards in last week's overtime win over New England, Smith turned in a season-low in passing yards on Sunday.

"It's not discouraging," Smith said. "Mistakes are going to happen, no matter how many years I play in this league. It's something to learn from."