If this is the season to be jolly, that may or may not include New York Jets’ fans.
At 4-9, with three games to go to end the season, meaningful football is over for Jet fans. Hopes for a Jets postseason are like a Christmas tree waiting to be picked up by sanitation after Dec. 25.
Like several other teams, most notably the Los Angeles Rams who fired their head coach Jeb Fisher earlier this week, the Jets are getting a head start on their preparation for next season.
Quarterback Bryce Petty now starts. Barring an injury to Petty, the Ryan Fitzpatrick era is over. The veteran sits on the sideline like the Christmas tree above. An unfortunate comparison. The Jets must find out now if Petty, 25, is the quarterback who can lead this team or if will they have to draft another, or luck up and find an available one in free agency.
The Jets, who started last Sunday’s game against the lowly San Francisco 49ers as if it were a continuation of their brutal Monday night 41-10 home loss to the Indianapolis Colts, rallied from a 17-3 deficit to beat the 49ers, 23-17. An overtime victory.
Lead by Petty, receiver Robby Anderson had six receptions (99 yards) and Bilal Powell, who replaced runningback Matt Forte, injured at the beginning of the game, had 145 rushing yards (2 touchdowns). The Jets ended their four-game losing streak, which began with a road game Nov. 6 against the Miami Dolphins, second in the AFC East division. The Jets are last.
“If it wasn’t for him [Powell], I don’t know if we win this game,” said Todd Bowles, the team’s head coach, about his back’s outstanding effort.
“Whenever my number is called, I just try to step up and take advantage of my opportunity,” said Powell, 28, who has been with the Jets since they drafted him in 2011.
“He single-handedly, from my point of view, broke every tackle he could break. He caught every ball. He ran. He blocked. He did everything,” noted Bowles.
Petty completed 23 of 35 passes for 257 yards, with one interception in his second start. He was sacked six times in the first half.
“I came out a little bit more nervous than I thought I was going to be,” he said, but to his, and the team’s, credit, they kept fighting.
Petty, in his third start, and the Jets get a chance this Saturday night to avenge their November loss to the Dolphins. They host Miami, 8-5, in their stadium, across the bridge in the Meadowlands, Rutherford, N.J.