With Bryce Petty standing in for the injured Josh McCown, the New York Jets dropped their second-straight game on Sunday afternoon to the New Orleans Saints 31-19.
Making just his fifth-career start, Petty completed 19-of-39 passes for 179 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in an attempt to do the impossible: outduel Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
The New Orleans veteran passer went 26-for-36 with 285 yards and a pair of touchdowns while he was supported by 118 yards on the ground between Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.
The Saints dominated at the start, putting up 10 points in their first two possessions, which featured a one-yard scoring rush from Mark Ingram with 3:07 in the first.
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They also outgained the Jets 132-17 during that opening stretch.
In desperate need of some momentum, the Jets turned to their running game and powered their way back into it.
Embarking on a 12-play drive, New York ran the ball 10 times, mostly utilizing Bilal Powell as he garnered 31 of his team’s 75 yards. His two-yard touchdown rush opened the scoring for the visitors early in the second quarter to pull within three.
The Saints punched right back when Brees picked up his 20th touchdown pass of the season, hitting Kamara for a 10-yard score as the rookie rusher from Tennessee continued to prove that he’s one of the most lethal receivers from the backfield in the red zone.
Despite getting points from their first three possessions, the Saints only carried a seven-point lead going into halftime after their offense suddenly went cold. In the meantime, the Jets managed to grind out a field goal in the final seconds of the second quarter.
Petty drove the Jets down into the red zone on their first drive of the second half with a chance to tie, but could only muster another field goal to cut the Jets deficit to four.
The sputtering Saints had two chances to extend their lead, moving into Jets territory. But wide receiver Brandon Coleman fumbled the ball away each time to ensure the Jets stayed close as the game wound into the fourth quarter.
Petty and the Jets were unable to put together any sort of real threat to take advantage of Coleman’s turnovers, giving New Orleans plenty of time to right the ship and put things away.
On the back of Thomas, the Saints went 64 yards on nine plays, with the receiver recording 50 of those on four catches, to put the Saints up 11. Thomas provided the exclamation point of the drive with a four-yard touchdown reception with 7:42 left for some insurance.
With 1:51 left, Petty connected with running back Elijah McGuire for a two-yard screen pass and score. The Jets failed the two-point conversion that would have made it a three-point game
But Ingram iced it with the biggest play of the day, a 50-yard touchdown with 1:33 remaining to go to officially eliminate the Jets from postseason contention.