Quarterback Bryce Petty gave an honest assessment of his first start of the season in the Jets’ 31-19 loss to the Saints.
“Good things, bad things,” Petty said. “Things to work on and improve mechanically. As far as knowing and understanding the game plan, knowing what you see out there, I felt really confident. The more times I get out there, the more times I see it, the better I’m going to get. I’m leaving positive.”
The third-year quarterback completed 19 of his 39 passes for 179 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in addition to 16 rushing yards. However, the second interception came on the final play of the game when Petty took a deep shot intended for speedster JoJo Natson.
“He plays with confidence,” head coach Todd Bowles said of Petty, who is slated to start the remainder of the season. “He’s going to see some things and it’s a faster pace down here. It’s a tough environment. I thought he handled himself well. Obviously you don’t want the turnover and he’ll be more accurate as we go.”
Petty and the offense took what the New Orleans’ defense gave them early as they were playing off the receivers. As a result, coordinator John Morton dialed up 10 runs on the Jets’ 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive that cut the Saints lead to 10-7 in the second quarter. For the game, the Jets gained 124 yards on 28 carries for an average of 4.4 yards per attempt. However, the 6’3”, 230-pound Petty led the offense on a six-play, 70-yard drive that results in rookie RB Eli McGuire’s first career receiving touchdown with 3:23 left in the fourth quarter down 24-13.
“He was comfortable in the huddle,” left tackle Kelvin Beachum said. “He’s always been that way. He was confident when he came into the huddle. When adversity hit, he didn’t blink an eye. You want to have a quarterback give you a chance to win and we had ample chances to win. We got into the red zone a number of times. We didn’t capitalize with seven like we wanted.”
The Jets split their red zone possessions with two touchdowns and two field goals. Defensive lineman Leonard Williams recorded his first career interception and set the offense up with on the Saints’ 11-yard line with 1:14 left in the half down by 10. The offense settled for a field goal and couldn't convert either Jamal Adams' or Buster Skrine's fumble recoveries into points. The Jets’ defense forced three takeaways against a Saints team that entered Sunday’s contest tied for fourth in the NFL with 13 giveaways, but only came away with three points.
“That’s where it’s tough for me to swallow,” Petty said. “That's what you want out of the defense is to force turnovers. That way, we have the opportunities at possessions to go down and score. Our defense played their butt off and as an offense, as the guy leading that huddle, I have to make sure we get in those positions and put our offense in the best position to be successful, which is scoring touchdowns.”