The New York Jets’ woes continued in Week 10 of the 2016 NFL season, as this time, Gang Green was defeated by the (4-5) Los Angeles Rams in a 9-6 snooze fest Sunday in East Rutherford. The loss drops the Jets to 3-7 on the year and with the season slipping away, talks regarding Todd Bowles’ job security are sure to re-emerge this week.
In a move that will certainly be dissected and second-guessed, the Jets head coach decided to start quarterback Bryce Petty in place of Ryan Fitzpatrick and it blew up in his face. Not only would the second-year man out of Baylor struggle to get anything going in his first start, but given the way everyone else played, this could have easily been a “W” for Gang Green.
“Fitz wasn’t completely healthy, even though he took reps in practice, Bryce took the majority of the important reps,” Bowles explained after the loss. “It was good to see him out there and Fitz was just going to be used as an emergency.”
This was a game to forget for the Jets offense, as Petty’s first experience as an NFL starter is sure to give him nightmares. The 25-year-old from Thomaston, Georgia completed just 59 percent of his passes, going 19-for-32 for 163 yards, a touchdown and an interception for a quarterback rating of 70.2.
This was arguably the most boring contest of the 2016 NFL season. However, the fact that New York had a chance to win and let it slip away adds insult to injury. As a unit, the Jets offense tallied 16 first downs (seven on passes, six on runs, three on penalties) and 296 yards of offense (139 rushing, 157 passing), but only converted on 3-of-12 third down opportunities.
Veteran running back Matt Forte certainly did his part, rushing for 98 yards on 20 carries, while second-stringer, Bilal Powell — who also recorded the only touchdown of the game on a four-yard lateral — pitched in with 37 yards on four carries to put the team over the century mark on the ground.
Defensively, this unit did its job and the fact that they were able to keep the Rams out of the end zone is a testament to that. The only reason it doesn’t deserve an A-letter grade is because, on three different occasions, they allowed the Rams to march down the field (10 plays or more) and score field goals. Nevertheless, any time a defense gives up only three field goals in 60 minutes, that’s a game that should result in a win.
Statistically, the Jets defense allowed 16 first downs (10 on passes, 6 on runs) and 280 yards of total offense (125 rushing, 155 passing), but allowed the Rams to convert on 6-of-17 on third downs and did not force a turnover. Defensive standouts on the afternoon include Steve McLendon, who finished the game with 1.5 sacks, along with Lorenzo Mauldin, Darron Lee and David Harris, who all got on the board with 0.5 sacks each.
Special Teams: C
Aside from Nick Folk’s missed point-after, the Jets special teams unit played a decent game. In a contest where punting and field-position was the most crucial element, Jets punter Lachlan Edwards booted the rock a total of eight times for an average of 43 yards per punt, a long of 59 yards and placed two punts inside the Rams’ 20-yard line. C.J. Spiller also contributed with 59 yards on three kick returns (19.7 average) in the losing effort.
Another week that passes marks another game where the Jets fail to score in the early stages of the game, which is usually a sign of poor preparation. This time, Petty is the one to blame for the offensive woes, but one gets the feeling everyone will be pointing in the direction of the Jets’ head coach when it comes time to place blame.
In addition to Bowles’ decision-making, the offensive play-calling was also a bit too conservative. Overall, it just seems as though Bowles’ days are numbered as Jets head coach, as the team could certainly benefit more from him as a coordinator rather than head honcho.
Up Next: Bye Week to Figure Out QB Situation
Even though the Jets will have a bye week to lick their wounds and go back to the drawing board, things might get a little dicey in the coming days. The first order of business is figuring out who will start under center when the Jets welcome the New England Patriots to MetLife Stadium Sunday night (Nov. 27).
“We have a bye week, we’ll evaluate it, see how Fitz feels and I’ll watch the film on Bryce and we’ll make a determination middle of the next week,” Bowles said. “I’m trying to play the best player right now to win ballgames. If it’s Bryce, it’s Bryce, if it’s Fitz, it’s Fitz.”