EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -The start of Brett Favre's record-breaking career can be traced back to an early season game against the Cincinnati Bengals 16 years ago, when he was just a fresh-faced kid with a rifle arm.
``My first real, true test,'' a grayed and grizzled Favre recently recalled.
Favre was in his second NFL season and sitting behind Don Majkowski on the Green Bay Packers' depth chart when everything changed. Majkowski injured his left ankle in the first quarter against the Bengals on Sept. 20, 1992, and Favre was forced into action.
With 13 seconds left, Favre threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kitrick Taylor to give the Packers a 24-23 comeback victory - Mike Holmgren's first as an NFL coach. An icon was born, and Favre hasn't seen the bench since.
y was the start of my career. I never sat out after that point. It just happened to be against Cincinnati.''
Favre, now with the New York Jets (2-2), is set to start in his 258th consecutive regular-season game - a record for quarterbacks - on Sunday against Marvin Lewis' woeful Bengals (0-5).
``It's amazing,'' Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer said. ``I think it's the single-greatest record or achievement in all of sports.''
Favre is coming off a career-high six-touchdown performance in a 56-35 win over Arizona two weeks ago, and is 3-1 in his career against the Bengals. He leads the NFL with a 110.8 quarterback rating and 12 TD passes, and has looked increasingly more comfortable running the Jets' offense.
``He's as competitive as being a 22-year-old,'' Bengals cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. ``He knows the game great overall. He isn't afraid of anything, that's the main thing. If he thinks he can get it done, he's going to take his chance. If there's a chance to make a play, he's going to make that play, or at least make an attempt.''
The Jets are 2-0 in games immediately following a bye under coach Eric Mangini. But New York is wary of Cincinnati, which beat the Jets 38-31 last season.
of time that they explode.'''
The Jets just hope that doesn't happen against them.
``They very easily could be 5-0,'' linebacker Eric Barton said. ``They've been in every game and you have to look who they have played. They've had very close games. They're a dangerous team.''
The Bengals are 0-5 for the first time since 2002, when they lost their first seven games and Dick LeBeau was fired after a 2-14 season. A loss would make them 0-6 for the third time since 2000.
``We want to win,'' Lewis said. ``My job every day is to come here and get things going and moving, and that's what we're going to do. We don't come around here with our tail between our legs. We'll be ready to go in New York. Psyche only is a problem with weak-minded people who quit at the drop of a hat, so it's not going to affect many people in this building.''
The Bengals' offense is ranked 31st entering the game, despite having playmakers like Palmer, Chad Ocho Cinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
``It's pretty easy to see all the positive things that they do,'' Mangini said. ``It's an explosive group there.''
As long as Palmer is healthy. The Bengals quarterback limited his throwing in practice during the week, resting his sore right elbow. He strained it in a loss to the Giants on Sept. 21, sat out the following week, but threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns in last Sunday's loss to Dallas.
e times where I didn't have the confidence I normally have just because my arm's not the same as previous to the injury,'' Palmer said. ``As far as throwing balls, I felt like I missed a couple I shouldn't have missed.''
Wide receiver Chris Henry didn't have a ball thrown his way against the Cowboys, his first game back from serving a four-game suspension for misconduct, but is expected to have a bigger role. And so is running back Cedric Benson, who had limited action in his first game since the Bengals signed the former Chicago first-round pick.
``If they play us like they played us last year, they'll pretty much double me and Chad basically every play,'' Houshmandzadeh said. ``We successfully ran the ball, and that kind of kick-started us a little bit. So if they do that, we'll be ready. And if they don't, I think we'll be fine.''
It's been a rough go for Palmer, who has broken his nose and sprained an ankle since the preseason, and has been sacked 11 times in his four games - six shy of his total from last season. He'll be facing a Jets defense that already has 13 sacks, way ahead of its pace from last year, when the group had 29.
``We're close, we're close, we're close, but we haven't finished it, so that's what we're going to try to do this Sunday,'' Houshmandzadeh said. ``We've got to do something, man. We can't go 0-6.''
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s report.

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