Rich Kotite’s Jets should be popping champagne bottles like the 1972 Dolphins do every time an undefeated squad loses, because those infamous mid-90s Gang Green squads have some company for worst teams in franchise history.
It’s not a shock the Indianapolis Colts (6-6) knocked off the Jets, 41-10, but it was alarming at how easy Gang Green was dispatched.
The Colts came in a desperate team, needing a win to stay tied atop the putrid AFC South, along with the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans, while the Jets (3-9) are just playing out the string – especially now that they’ve been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with the defeat.
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But it was almost apparent from the start that the Jets just weren’t into the game. Perhaps it was the morgue-like atmosphere at MetLife Stadium – a scene that looked more like a Division-III contest than an NFL event. Or maybe the Jets have finally quit on the beleaguered Todd Bowles. The game was such a disaster from the start, that the usually stoic Bowles could be seen on the sidelines ripping into his maligned defense following a quick 14-0 start by the Colts with eight minutes still remaining in the opening quarter.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (5-of-12 for 81 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception) was replaced by Bryce Petty to start the second half and the Jets down 24-3. The second-year signal caller wasn’t much better, but there was a brief jolt of energy within the huddle and among the lethargic crowd. It didn’t last much longer than a few plays, as Andrew Luck and co. continued to dismantle the Jets’ defense. Luck, who missed last week with a concussion, was cleared by Friday – much to the Jets’ dismay. He finished 22-of-28 with 278 yards, four touchdowns and no interception, as he looked like his old Pro Bowl self – without even playing much of the fourth quarter.
The Jets were never ready for the game, and the malaise was apparent from the onset. Whether that’s an indictment on Bowles and his staff, or a group of professional athletes whose job it is to be ready for any game, is up for general manager Mike Maccagnan to decide in the near future.
Metro takes a look back at the albatross that was a nationally-televised beatdown.
What We Saw:
1. Slow out the gate
The Jets were never into the game, as the Colts jumped on them early and never took its foot off Gang Green’s throat. New York started the game on its own 11-yard line and promptly went 3-and-out. As a matter of fact, the Jets began the game with two-straight 3-and-outs, while the Colts took its opening two drives and rammed in touchdowns. Indianapolis entered the game with just three touchdowns on opening drives since 2014, which was the fewest in the NFL, so they naturally took their opening jaunts for touchdowns. The route was on, just eight minutes into the game, and the half-full MetLife spectators were already full-throttle in booing the hometown team.
2. Failure to communicate
Both of the Colts’ early touchdowns were recorded by tight end Dwayne Allen, who is not necessarily known for his blazing speed through the secondary. But there was Allen working his way wide open through the Jets’ beleaguered secondary for his first two touchdowns. During those first two scores, there wasn’t a Jets defender within a 10-yard radius of the plodding Allen, who entered the game with just two receiving touchdowns, but surpassed that by the end of the night with three receiving touchdowns. Allen finished with four catches for 72 yards, and three touchdowns. Bowles likes to say that his defense doesn’t have blown coverages, but merely miscommunications. But by the way the pedestrian Allen waltzed through the secondary, the Jets’ coverage woes are far past merely talking it out.
3. Petty isn’t ready, but better than alternative
Sure, his stats were compiled in garbage time, but it’s now apparent that the second-year passer should get a long look for the remainder of the season. Petty finished 11-of-25 for 135 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions in relief of Fitzpatrick and looked like any young quarterback would in a tough situation – spotty. But he deserves a chance by Bowles and co. to see if he is in the mix for the future – because the $12-million Fitzpatrick is not. Petty had his moments, including a beautiful 40-yard touchdown connection to Robbie Anderson with 11:19 remaining in the game, but for the most part he had issues deciphering coverages on the fly. The touchdown toss, though, was about the fifth go-route that Petty attempted in the second half, with the previous tries overthrown. But at least he had his brief moment of joy when the fifth time proved to be the charm, as he hit Anderson in stride. Next week’s tilt in San Francisco should be featuring Petty under center.