Unlike last week, the New York Jets showed up ready to play on the road today. Led by their defense, they hung around the superiorly talented New Orleans Saints en route to a 31-19 loss. They forced three turnovers and settled down after a slow start but received no support on the other side of the football from an offense that was largely inefficient, thanks to erratic play from Bryce Petty and conservative play calling. The team is now 5-9 overall and 1-6 on the road.
Petty finished 19/39 for 179 yards (4.6 YPA) with 2 INTs and 1 TD, with the majority of his yardage coming when the game was already in hand for the Saints. Outside of one great sideline throw to Elijah McGuire, he struggled with accuracy, particularly on many routine routes. He looked like the same player he was in 2016, who is a player that is a borderline backup quarterback at best but probably best suited to be a third stringer. Petty will likely finish out the season under center and honestly at this point, it doesn’t matter because nobody in the Jets current quarterback room should be under center in week 1 next year.
There were signs of life from the running game today (mostly in the first half), Bilal Powell had a short rushing touchdown and 44 yards on the ground. McGuire finished with 48 yards receiving and 24 yards rushing. It was a quiet day for Robby Anderson (4o yards). Chad Hansen had a nice 24 yard reception late in the game, while it now appears JoJo Natson (1 catch, 1 rushing attempt) is ahead of ArDarius Stewart on the depth chart. Austin Seferian-Jenkins only had 13 yards on the day and is now under 30 yards receiving in 7 of his last 8 games. Jermaine Kearse only has 32 yards over the past two games.
Defensively, the Jets were swarming for most of the afternoon. Buster Skrine forced a fumble. Jamal Adams forced a fumble. Leonard Williams had an interception, thanks to a pressure from Xavier Cooper (who played very well today). Their coverage downfield was better than expected but they were occasionally done in by their lack of a pass rush. Buster Skrine also likely played his best overall game of the season, building on improved play over the past month. Ultimately, the Jets wore down due to how ineffective their offense was at keeping them off the field.
If the season ended today, the Jets would pick 10th overall, although that position could be on track to improve if they lose their final two games (a distinct possibility, especially with Petty under center). The Jets are now 20-26 under Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan and have clinched a losing record for the second straight season for the first time since 1995 and 1996. They were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, clinching the franchise’s longest playoff drought since 1970-1980. We are in the dark times, friends.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com