For the sixth time in 15 games, the Jets used multiple quarterbacks. Bryce Petty injured his left shoulder early in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium and Ryan Fitzpatrick finished in relief for the Jets as they fell to 4-11 with a 41-3 loss to the Patriots.
A week after being sandwiched by Miami defenders Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake, Petty went down while attempting to make a tackle following a turnover. The second-year passer, who misfired on his three pass attempts and was intercepted by CB Malcolm Butler in the first quarter, tried to get Butler to the ground as the latter had pounced on a loose ball.
"I went to tackle him and when I did, I guess he hit my shoulder and it kind of popped out," said Petty, who added he will get an MRI tomorrow.
Fitzpatrick, who came off the bench for duty against the Ravens in Week 7 and last Saturday against the Dolphins, got off to a promising start. With the Jets down 13-0, he moved the visitors in the red zone. But they came away with no points when TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins couldn't hang on to a pass in the end zone and Nick Folk kick went wide right from 34 yards out. Then when the Jets got the ball back, Fitzpatrick was intercepted by CB Eric Rowe on a deep pass intended for WR Brandon Marshall.
The Jets turned the ball over three times in the opening half, leading to 17 points for the Patriots. The 27-0 deficit at half was the largest of the season and the Jets couldn't anything going offensively for most of the second half. Fitzpatrick had another near TD in the fourth quarter, but a rope went through WR Devin Smith's hands and the Green & White had to settle for a Folk field goal to get on the scoreboard.
"To get embarrassed the way we did today, it is never fun," said Fitzpatrick, who finished eight of 21 for 136 yards. "Not just as a football player, but as a man."
After Petty came on for Fitzpatrick in the second half of the Jets' Week 12 loss to the Colts, head coach Todd Bowles announced that the Baylor product — barring injury — would start the team's final four games. He has opened the past three, but was unable to finish each of the past two contests. Playing behind a shuffled offense line, Petty has completed 58% of his passes (43 of 74) for 492 yards with 1 TD and 4 INTs. He has been sacked 11 times.
"It's tough because you have to keep plugging away, but the only way to do that is to get out there," Petty said.
The Jets will wrap up their regular season with a New Year's Day visit from the Bills. Through 15 games, Fitzpatrick has started 10 contests, Petty has got the call four times and Geno Smith started against Baltimore in Week 7. Rookie Christian Hackenberg, a second-round pick from Penn State, has yet to dress.