When Jets head coach Todd Bowles turned to his young signal caller Bryce Petty, he knew well in advance that Gang Green would keep the gameplan close to the vest.
And with the Los Angeles Rams (4-5) also having issues at quarterback, it was expected that the game would be a kicking fest, both in punts and field goals – and it was, as the visitors earned the tight 9-6 win.
Bowles was allowed an easy out to sit quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (knee sprain) and replace him with Petty, but after the way Gang Green lost in the final moments, and the fact the second-year signal caller didn’t do much to wrestle the job away from Fitzpatrick, Bowles is in store for another grueling week of quarterback questions.
Jets’ fans were hopeful Petty would’ve acquitted himself, and provided the coach reason to move forward with the youth movement, but like his predecessor, he ruined the Jets’ plans with a late interception at midfield with 1:52 remaining in the game. New York didn’t have any timeouts remaining following the interception by linebacker Alec Ogletree, and the game was salted away.
Interception withstanding, Petty had respectable stats in his first career start, as he went 19-of-32 for 163 yards, one touchdown, and an interception.
The story, though, was the ineffectiveness of both offenses, as punts rained the sky. Los Angeles sported one of the league’s least inefficient offenses, while the Jets (3-7) were just trying to stay afloat with their neophyte. Ultimately, it came down to a kicking contest, which the Jets lost, as Greg Zuerlein nailed a 34-yarder with just under seven minutes remaining.
Metro takes a look at the events that lead to Gang Green’s second-straight defeat.
What We Saw:
1. Todd Gurley corralled: Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Gurley was thought to take the league by storm and really be the team’s linchpin, especially as the Rams made the move from St. Louis to Hollywood. But he’s struggled so far this season, and Sunday was no different. Heading into the contest, Gurley was averaging just 13 touches per game during the last month, as Los Angeles entered with a four-game losing streak. Sunday’s defeat was the Rams’ fifth straight and it was mostly due to the disappearing act of its franchise running back. Gurley was held to 64 yards on 21 carries. The microcosm of Gurley’s frustrations happened on the opening drive when the Rams had 1st-and-goal inside the Jets’ one-yard line and could only muster a short field goal, after ignoring the run and throwing on three-straight downs. Gurley missed two practices leading up to the game with a thigh injury, but he didn’t necessarily look hampered, just not effective.
2. Riding Forte: It was apparent early what Bowles and Gailey wanted to do for their neophyte passer, and that was to give their running backs a heavy workload. Matt Forte had 22 touches, including 20 carries, while backup Bilal Powell added 11 touches, including seven receptions. It’s a formula that Gang Green will continue to provide, especially if Petty remains the starter – and in all honesty, it’s a formula that should stay intact if Fitzpatrick returns to the starting lineup, considering his 13 interceptions. Forte looked fresh in totaling 98 rushing yards, while Powell provided a great change of pace with his receptions that earned him 52 receiving yards. Powell also accounted for 37 rushing yards on just four carries.
3. Passing game stuck in neutral: Brandon Marshall once again had a quiet afternoon as he registered just four catches for 15 yards. The only glimmer of hope came on a creative touchdown where Petty hit Marshall for a four-yard gain, who then flipped the ball to a streaking Powell for the hook-and-lateral touchdown. But that was the highlight for Marshall, who regardless of the starting at quarterback, just can’t seem to find his mojo. Quincy Enunwa was basically invisible as he garnered just one catch for seven yards. The tight end never gets the ball thrown to him. And the best options lately have been the running backs out of the backfield. Perhaps they’ve found a hidden gem in rookie Robbie Anderson, who had a team-high 69 yards on just three catches, but 52 of that came on a perfectly-placed pass from Petty during the Jets’ 99-yard drive.