The Jets started their third quarterback of the 2016 campaign Sunday with second-year passer Bryce Petty receiving the call for the first time in his NFL career. Against a stout Rams defense, Petty directed the offense to just six points as the team lost a defensive slugfest 9-6 at MetLife Stadium.
Playing turnover free for most of the contest, Petty was intercepted late in the fourth quarter by LB Alec Ogletree. That was the final nail in the coffin for an offense that couldn't sustain drives in the second half and was held scoreless over the final 30 minutes. Petty hit on 19 of his 32 passes Sunday for 183 yards with his first TD and the turnover.
"It's just the beginning," Petty said. "It definitely didn't turn out how I wanted it, but it's not like it's over. You just have to keep fighting and keep rocking and rolling, come in Tuesday and learn from it. There are a lot of things to learn from this tape and we'll be back."
"He made some good throws, he got some growing pains," added head coach Todd Bowles of Petty, who also told the media that an ailing Ryan Fitzpatrick was his team's emergency QB against the Rams. "Just being out there for the first time from a composure standpoint, he was fine. He just has to clean up few things."
Petty settled in nicely early, hitting rookie WR Robby Anderson for a 52-yard vertical strike in the final minute of the first quarter. The Jets didn't play conservative on the toss, letting Petty drop back from inside his own end zone and deliver a perfectly thrown deep ball to Anderson. Then Petty's first career TD came as the result of some trickery from offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. Petty's short toss to WR Brandon Marshall was lateraled to RB Bilal Powell for a 4-yard TD.
.@b_petty14: 9-for-13, 1 TD, 98 yds…
The Jets held a 6-3 lead at halftime, but the damage should have been more. Late in the second quarter, Petty misfired to Anderson after the Rams let the speedster though and into the secondary on a blown coverage. It was a costly mistake for Petty, who otherwise had a very solid first half while completing 9-of-13 for 98 yards and the score.
"I think their safety got mixed up and I had Robby down the sideline, and I have to hit that. I have to make that as easy as possible," Petty said. "I think the ball kind of got on him, so I definitely wish I had that one back."
For most of the afternoon, Petty and the offense faced long fields. They started six possessions insider their 20, three of which commenced inside the 10. After converting 57% of the time on third down in the first half, the Green & White did not convert on third down (0-of-5) in the second half. Besides the long toss to Anderson, the Jets weren't able to get anything going down the field. Petty completed 10-of-19 in the second half, but those completions only covered 65 yards.
"I think he played really well and managed the game well," said Marshall, who was limited to 15 yards on his four receptions. "Obviously we ran the ball more today. I think we was efficient. He will get better and we will continue to make plays for him."
Hesitating at times, Petty didn't have any late magic as Ogletree put the game on ice.
"You can say whatever you want about first start or whatever, but I knew what I was seeing," he said. "I have to get better at pulling the trigger and making plays when they're there to be made."
The Jets have a bye week ahead before the Patriots come to MetLife Stadium in Week 12. Fitzpatrick will have extra time to rehab his knee and the Jets will review Petty's first NFL start. Bowles did not commit to a starter in his postgame news conference.
"We'll evaluate that next week as go forward," he said. "We have the bye week to evaluate and we'll see how Fitz feels. I'll watch the film on Bryce and we'll make a determination the middle of next week."
Top Photos from the Week 10 Action at MetLife Stadium