Updated, 1:48 a.m. ET
The Monday night spotlight was not kind to the Jets, who struggled to find rhythm on offense or defense in falling behind by three touchdowns in the first half.
Head coach Todd Bowles opted to take out QB Ryan Fitzpatrick at halftime and play Bryce Petty in the second half. Petty finally struck with a 40-yard score to Robby Anderson for the rookie receiver's first pro touchdown, but it was far too little to avert the 41-10 loss to the team with the horseshoes on their helmets.
"For the first time this year, we got our [butt] handed to us," Bowles said. "It's very troubling when you get your [butt] kicked."
The Colts strode to 6-6 and into a three-way tie atop the AFC South. The Jets fell to 3-9 with their fourth straight loss, their three-game winning streak over the Colts and 2-0 record over four-TD passer Andrew Luck a distant memory.
Here are 10 observations as the Jets-Colts game unfolded on MNF:
1. Slow Out of the GateSlow start to the night's proceedings. Jeremy Ross got a return off of one of Pat McAfee's shorter kickoffs — and was tackled at the 10. Three-and-out, a Lachlan Edwards punt to midfield, then a methodical drive to Andrew Luck's 7-yard TD flip to wide-open TD Dwayne Allen, who jogged in. Colts led 7-0 before the game was five minutes old.
2. Instant ReplaySimilar to the first set of drives, the Jets went 3-and-out on their second series, then the Colts moved 69 yards to the second Luck-to-Allen TD pass of the first 7:15 of the game. It was 14-0.
"We probably had six or seven mistakes in the first eight plays, all from different players, and guys, myself included, that have been playing all year long," Fitzpatrick said. "I think nobody played well tonight, obviously, offense, defense, special teams. I think that was pretty evident from the beginning."
3. Finally, a StopThe offense finally got a first down on a Fitzpatrick-to-Brandon Marshall 17-yarder but still punted. Finally the Jets awoke — specifically Leonard Williams, who was held for a 10-yard penalty on the Colts, then sacked Luck on the next play. A delay gave the Colts second-and-32. No, they didn't convert, but even here things fell their way as McAfee fielded a punt snap on the bounce and still got off a great kick downed at the Jets 3 to end the first quarter.
4. Then Some PointsThen the Green & White offense finally got untracked, with the big play a 40-yard catch-and-run from Fitzpatrick to Matt Forte to set up Nick Folk's 38-yard field goal. The reception was Forté's longest in three years, the longest by a Jets RB since LaDainian Tomlinson went 74 yards at Oakland in '11, and the longest by a Jets RB at home since Chad Pennington hit Richie Anderson with a 56-yard TD vs. the Colts in the 2002 playoffs.
5. Up and AdamIndy's next drive stalled at the Jets 35, so on came Adam Vinatieri, who was 41-for-45 career vs. the Jets. Make that 42-for-46 with a career-long 53-yarder to open the Colts lead back up to 14 at 17-3.
6. More Luck-to-AllenThe Colts struck again on a 70-yard drive to the third Luck-to-Allen touchdown pass of the first half, this one coming over rookie LB Darron Lee's close but not close enough coverage with 1:18 left in the half. That made it 24-3 and elevated Allen into the Opponents Hall of Fame — he's only the second TE with three TD catches vs. the Jets all-time and the first since the Oilers' Willie Frazier in 1965.
Top Images from the Week 13 Monday Night Football Battle Between the Jets and Colts
7. More Disaster AvertedFitzpatrick tried to rally the offense in the final 1:18 but instead he threw a deep ball intended for Marshall that was easily plucked by CB Darius Butler. The visitors threatened to open their lead to more than 21 but the home team was saved when Rontez Miles, starting at S for the injured Calvin Pryor, forced the ball out of TE Jack Doyle's grasp as he closed in on the pylon. The ball went out the side of the end zone for a touchback, which also counted as a Jets takeaway — their first in four games and their first in the first half of the last 11 games.
8. Piling OnIndy deferred on the opening toss, so they got the second-half kickoff and picked up where they left off, with Luck completing the 75-yard drive with a 3-yarder to Donte Moncrief, sliding for the catch ahead of a late-closing Lee in the end zone. That made it 31-3 and brought on ...
9. Petty by HalfPetty came on to start the third quarter, fired his first pass to TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins for 10 yards, nearly completed a long ball that Robby Anderson couldn't hold, then found Marshall for a first down. But he engineered only a seven-play drive on his first work of the night, then threw a long interception that S Mike Adams returned to the Jets 6 to set up Robert Turbin's short TD slant to the pylon to start the fourth quarter.
10. Down the MiddleAnderson was struggling to grab a long ball but he finally snared his first pro TD on a diving 40-yard catch-and-roll from Petty down the middle with 11:19 to play. That reduced the damage to 41-10.
"At every at-bat you learn something," said Petty, who completed 11 of 25 passes for 135 yards and a pair of INTs along with his TD pass. "That's what I'm trying to do every time I get out there is learn as much as I can to better myself for the next time I go out there."
As Bowles announced after the game, Petty will get that chance Sunday at San Francisco because, as long as he remains healthy, the coach said the second-year QB will get the final four starts.
The Jets will need to regroup to give Petty and themselves the best chance at the 49ers, who have lost their last 11 games.
"I know we've got the talent to beat a lot of teams in this league," said Williams, the Jets' top defender in this game with a game-high 10 tackles, a half-sack and three QB hits. "I don't know why we just haven't been in a rhythm all season. We're just looking bad right now. But I think we should definitely be able to pick it up, finish this season strong."