By Abe Gutierrez
In front of a less-than-packed MetLife Stadium Monday night, the New York Jets were mathematically eliminated from the payoffs in humiliating fashion. Coming into this contest as only two-point underdogs, Gang Green found itself on the losing end of a 41-10 thrashing at the hands of Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
The loss drops the Jets’ record to 3-9 on the 2016 NFL season, which is good enough for last place in the AFC East, as Todd Bowles’ team has now lost four consecutive ballgames. The woeful performance also brings the Ryan Fitzpatrick era to an end in the Big Apple barring an injury or other unforeseen circumstance as coach Todd Bowles revealed after Monday’s defeat.
“I thought they kicked our [expletive]. I don’t think we had a lot of effort,” Bowles said during his post-game presser. “I’ll see the film, I’m sure there were some people that showed effort, but for the most part we got our [expletive] kicked. It’s very troubling when you get your [expletive] kicked.”
The 31-point rout is not only the most lopsided loss under the Jets’ second-year head coach, but it also drops Bowles’ career record to 13-15. With four games remaining in the regular season schedule and with more questions than answers, it’s going to be interesting to see what Jets owner Woody Johnson decides to do going forward.
Offensively, this game got off to a nightmarish start and unfortunately for Fitzpatrick, it would get worse after two quarters of play. After completing 5-of-12 pass attempts for 81 yards, no touchdowns and an interception—for a dreadful 30.2 quarterback rating—Bowles benched the Harvard product and inserted backup Bryce Petty.
“I’m not sure,” Fitzpatrick said regarding his future as Jets quarterback beyond this year. “It’s been a rough season.”
Trailing, 24-3, Petty had no choice but to air it out and would close out the game by connecting on 11-of-25 pass attempts for 135 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions to earn a 41.3 QBR.
As a team, the Jets offense tallied 123 first downs (10 on passes, 2 on rushes and 1 on a penalty), converted on just 3-of-12 third-down opportunities, 1-for-2 on fourth downs, and mustered just 250 yards of total offense. Running backs Matt Forte (nine carries for 25 yards), C.J. Spiller (two carries for five yards) and Bilal Powell (one carry for three yards) were conspicuously absent, while wide receivers Robby Anderson (four receptions, 61 yards, TD) and Brandon Marshall (four receptions, 43 yards), along with running back Matt Forte, stood out in the receiving department.
Defensively, there was absolutely nothing the Jets “D” could do against a red-hot Andrew Luck (22-of-28, 278 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 147.6 QBR) and the Colts’ high-flying offense. New York’s resistance allowed the Colts to score in every single quarter of this ballgame and did not record a single sack against the most-sacked signal-caller in professional football. Frankly, that type of effort is simply not going to get it done, no matter the opposition.
When it was all said and done, the Jets defense gave up 26 first downs, out of which, 18 were completed through the air, four via the run and another four thanks to Jets penalties. As a unit, this team must face the fact that they surrendered 421 yards of total offense, allowed the Colts to convert on 7-of-13 third down scenarios, and lost the turnover battle 0-3.
Defensive standouts for Gang Green tonight include Leonard Williams and Deon Simon, who recorded a half-sack each along with 10 tackles and 6 tackles, respectively. Other players to note for their effort are Darron Lee, David Harris and Rontez Miles, who all pitched in with eight tackles apiece in the losing effort.
Special Teams: B-
With Andrew Luck and the Colts on fire, and the Jets offense and defense stagnant, the special teams unit didn’t have much say in the outcome of tonight’s contest. However, it’s worth noting that this unit will not be to blame for tonight’s forgettable defeat.
In fact, kicker Nick Folk was perfect on the evening, as he converted his lone field goal attempt from 38 yards, and was successful in his only PAT attempt of the ballgame. Punter Lachlan Edwards had a relatively solid game as he averaged 46 yards in five punts, including one he placed inside the Colts’ 20-yard line.
Life in the National Football League is in no way easy, particularly for head coaches, who carry the burden any time their team fails to show up. And while tonight’s game is just an example of the turmoil going on in the Jets locker room, it’s a clear illustration that a changing of the guard might be in order.
Bowles and his staff were out-coached only on every aspect of tonight’s game, from the word go until the final whistle. “All of it falls on me,” Bowles summed things up after the game. “I’m the head coach.”
Next up: Jets escape from the Big Apple for a clash with the Niners in Week 14
With the franchise in disarray, hitting the road (as far away as possible) might be the best thing that could happen to Todd Bowles and the New York Jets in Week 14. Looking for some positive takeaways, Gang Green travels to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California for a battle against a San Francisco 49ers team that’s lost 11 consecutive ballgames. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS.