EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Brett Favre and the New York Jets were far from flashy on offense, and they didn't need to be against the winless Cincinnati Bengals.
Thomas Jones ran for two touchdowns, including a 1-yarder late in the game, and caught a pass from Favre for a score to lead the Jets to a 26-14 win Sunday.
"It wasn't our best performance on offense, but it was a win," Favre said. "We did some good things. ... Thomas Jones, he had one of those days."
The Jets (3-2) improved to 3-0 in games immediately following a bye under Coach Eric Mangini, but this one was far from easy. With New York holding a tentative 20-14 lead, the Jets needed a 10-play, 41-yard drive by Favre that ate up the clock to seal the victory over the Bengals (0-6).
"I don't believe in ugly wins," Favre said. "I believe a win's a win. That one felt as good as any win I've been a part of in recent memory."
Ryan Fitzpatrick couldn't get much going for the Bengals in place of an ailing Carson Palmer. He was 20-for-33 for 152 yards as Cincinnati dropped to 0-6 for the third time since 2000.
"Oh-and-anything stings," linebacker Dhani Jones said. "We just want to get the bad taste out of our mouths; 0-and-6 is not a position anybody wants to be in."
The Bengals gained just 43 yards rushing on 21 carries, with Fitzpatrick's 23 leading the way.
"Everyone will say that with a backup in there, we need to run the ball better. We will," said Fitzpatrick, making his second start in three games with Palmer resting a sore right elbow. "It was a struggle out there today. We have to go back to the drawing board and figure it out."
Despite their struggles, the Bengals were still in it late.
"We've got to do better," Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis said. "It's not good enough."
The Jets had a third-and-4 from the Bengals' 7 when Favre hit Chris Baker for 6 yards. Jones followed with a 1-yard rumble into the end zone with 2:22 left, and the 2-point try fell incomplete to make it a 12-point game.
Favre, coming off a six-touchdown performance in a 56-35 victory over Arizona, wasn't nearly as explosive in this one. He finished 25-for-33 for 189 yards — throwing mostly short passes — a touchdown and two interceptions.
"I'm not here for stats," Favre said. "I'm here for wins."
Jones finished with 17 carries for 65 yards and had his first career three-TD game for the Jets.
"Last (game), we threw the ball really well and scored a lot of points, and today wasn't that exact same situation," Jones said. "We had to kind of grind it out a little more. The good thing is we're able to do both."
Cincinnati took a 7-0 lead on the third play from scrimmage, when Antwan Odom sacked Favre and forced a fumble. Chinedum Ndukwe picked it up and ran 15 yards into the end zone to give the Bengals the lead 1:24 into the game.
It didn't last long as New York tied it with a 2-yard touchdown reception by Jones.
The score capped a strange drive during which Favre had thrown two other touchdown passes that were called back by penalties.
"We're not going to throw six touchdown passes every week," Favre said with a smile. "We might throw three on one drive, which was different."
Cincinnati cornerback Jamar Fletcher and safety Herana-Daze Jones injured hamstrings in the first half and didn't return.