Quarterback Bryce Petty looked solid in his first ever NFL start with the New York Jets. Could it be the start of a new era under center?
A packed crowd took their seats at MetLife Stadium this past Sunday, roaring and cheering constantly for a Los Angeles Rams vs New York Jets game. No, they were not there to watch their Super Bowl contending team take the field because the Jets are far from that this season. However, the youngster, Bryce Petty, quarterback from Baylor, was given the opportunity to make his first career NFL start. Ryan Fitzpatrick was left, once again, to stand and watch from the sidelines, as the Jets’ coaches and fans were all eager to see what the future of the team is capable of.
Petty provided an early spark, capping off a 99-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to running back Bilal Powell. After being pinned on the 1-yard-line, Petty showed poise and looked confident in helping the Jets march down the field. He threw a beautiful 52-yard pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson and took his team in helping the Jets score a touchdown. However, that was pretty much it for the Jets offense. Kicker Nick Folk missed the extra point following the score, and the Jets failed to put any more points on the board in the second half, losing 9-6 to the Rams.
The afternoon seemed promising for Petty, but it sure began to look like dejá vu for Jets fans quickly. Petty blew two chances in the final six minutes to put the Jets in field goal range to tie or pull out a win. His day ended with a horrendous interception with just 1:52 to play. He did finish 19-for-32 with 163 yards and the touchdown throw, but the Jets did punt eight times throughout the game and just seemed like a defeated team out there.
“I’m not going to let this define my career,” Petty said, per Rich Cimini of ESPN. “I’m going to grow from it, learn from it and be ready to go.”
In his defense, Petty was thrown onto the field as a starter without receiving a full week of practice with the starters, as Fitzpatrick took half the snaps as well. Additionally, the Jets were playing without three of their starting offensive lineman, which caused Petty to roll out of the pocket often and throw on the run.
While fans could be quick to criticize Petty for losing in a home game against one of the weakest offenses in the league in the Rams, Petty is still young and had one of the best college careers of all recent NFL quarterbacks. In his four-year-career at Baylor, Petty had 8,195 passing yards with 62 passing touchdowns and 21 rushing yards, and he received the Big-12 Offensive Player of the Year award in 2013. Additionally, during this year’s preseason, Petty played some great football and showed he has the talent to belong in the competitive league.
Next up for the Jets is a bye week, which gives the coaching staff time to evaluate Petty and the team, and gives Petty himself more time to practice, get more comfortable in the system and prepare mentally. Head coach Todd Bowles has yet to make a decision on who the starter will be, but with a 3-7 record heading into the bye week, it makes complete sense to let Petty continue to start.
Perhaps it’s time for a new era for the Jets: it’s Petty time.