The blame for another woeful Jets loss, a 9-6 defeat to the Los Angeles Rams Sunday at MetLife Stadium, shouldn’t be entirely on this team’s quarterback of the moment, Bryce Petty.
The moment finally arrived only because starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s knee was sprained just enough to convince head coach Todd Bowles he had no choice but to take Petty’s clipboard and give it to him for the day.
Petty did very little to convince anyone in attendance, or watching on television, he’s the future quarterback for the Jets. His performance, 19 of 32, one touchdown and one interception, was inconsistent to put it nicely.
In a game, where the most exciting play was a 78-yard booming punt by Johnny Hekker, Petty failed in a last-ditched effort to fly the Jets’ offense out of trouble.
With under two minutes to play, and the Jets down three, Petty threw a short pass over the middle intended for Quincy Enunwa. Alec Ogletree promptly read it, jumped it, and ultimately wrestled it away from Enunwa for the interception.
The Jets are now 3-7 on the season, and the talk after the game in the locker room was of playing for pride, not a playoff spot.
For a few fleeting moments in the first half, Petty gave Jets fans some hope. There was a 52-yard pass completion, on a beautiful throw, to Robby Anderson which rescued the Jets from their own 1-yard line after being pinned deep by another nice punt from Hekker.
Petty, however, regressed as the game went on. He flat-out missed Anderson, who was wide-open, on a third down in the second quarter.
“Those are the plays in this kind of game that you have to make and I missed that,” Petty said.
The Jets became more and more conservative with the play calling and the inevitable feeling of defeat was once again in the East Rutherford air.
“He made some good throws,” said Bowles afterwards. “He’s got some growing pains. Just being out there for the first time from a composure standpoint, he was fine. He just has to clean up a few things.”
What now becomes of the future for the Jets?
Well, there’s a bye week now approaching. Bowles meanwhile, in his best Jim Mora impression, is focused on just winning a game.
“We’re 3-7. We’re not even thinking playoffs,” Bowles said. “We’re trying to get to four wins.”
It is a relief to know that Bowles isn’t walking around talking about this team making the postseason, but it’s definitely time for the Jets to begin looking ahead to 2017.
And they can start at quarterback.
Fitzpatrick is most likely gone after this season, so is Geno Smith. That leaves Petty and rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
That might not be what an aging team, which for the last two years was built to win now, wants to hear. For the Jets, however, this is their reality.
What this team can’t do, however, is just give the keys back to Fitzpatrick as if all is right because it isn’t.
The ship with Fitzpatrick, despite the efforts of Brandon Marshall, has sank and everyone knows it.
One game, as tough on the eyes as this was to watch, shouldn’t be what decides Petty’s future with the Jets. He got his feet wet, now should be the time where you find out if he’ll sink or swim.
Bowles and the Jets have two weeks to think about it.
The Jets have a 3-7 record. Despite what their saying, this team’s showing signs of checking out on the rest of this season.
Petty? Hackenberg? Someone new?
There’s nothing left to think about, except who’s the quarterback next year.