EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rex and The Sanchise are headed to the playoffs.
Same Old J-E-T-S? Nope, not this time.
Rex Ryan's top-ranked defense shut down the Cincinnati Bengals and rookie Mark Sanchez efficiently led a clock-eating offense as the Jets clinched their first playoff berth in three seasons with a 37-0 victory at the frigid Meadowlands on Sunday night.
Needing a win to keep their season going, and playing in front of their frosted fans braving Arctic conditions, the Jets (9-7) set up a rematch against the Bengals (10-6) in the first round of the playoffs next Saturday at Cincinnati.
"We planned on being here, regardless of who believed in us or didn't," Ryan said. "We're built for this time of year and this is our time."
Sanchez was 8 for 16 for 63 yards with no turnovers before being replaced by Kellen Clemens late in the fourth quarter with the game in hand. Thomas Jones ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns and do-it-all wide receiver Brad Smith, the former Missouri quarterback, had 92 yards rushing, including a 32-yard TD run, as the Jets set a record for rushing yards in a season.
The Jets got things started on their first possession when Smith took a direct snap in the TigerCat formation on third-and-7 from the Bengals 42. He took a few steps to his right and then scooted up the middle before being taken down by Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph at the 1. After Smith's 57-yard run, Jones took the ball over the top and into the end zone to make it 7-0 4:14 into the game.
Smith's 32-yard touchdown run gave the Jets a 17-0 lead with 6:37 left in the half. Smith, lined up at quarterback, took the snap under center and took off, running over linebacker Rashad Jeanty, and zipping into the end zone.
Smith's 92 rushing yards were a personal-best in the NFL. He totaled 113 yards rushing all of last season.
It is the second straight week Smith played a key role in a Jets win. Last week he was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. His 106-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Colts was the longest play in Jets history