Petty can't cash in, late INT seals Jets' 9-6 loss to Rams
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Bryce Petty jogged onto the field to a standing ovation from excited New York Jets fans eager to see him make his first NFL start.
When it was all over, they left the stadium disappointed.
Petty was intercepted by Alec Ogletree with just under two minutes left, lifting the Los Angeles Rams to a 9-6 victory over the Jets.
''I'm not going to let this define my career,'' Petty said. ''I'm not going to let this define me.''
Petty started in place of an injured Ryan Fitzpatrick, a move many fans and media had been clamoring for for weeks. But after a solid first few drives, Petty and the Jets couldn't get much going against the Rams' defense.
''I really can't wait to go back and watch film,'' Petty said, ''learn from this and get better from it.''
The Jets dropped to 3-7 and their playoff hopes are just about over. Their quarterback situation remains uncertain, with coach Todd Bowles unwilling to commit to either Petty or Fitzpatrick as the starter for New York's next game against New England in two weeks following a bye-week break.
''We'll evaluate that next week,'' Bowles said. ''We've got the bye week to evaluate that and we'll see how Fitz feels. We'll watch the film on Bryce and we'll make the determination next week.''
Fitzpatrick was listed as questionable with a sprained left knee , suffered last weekend at Miami. Bowles said throughout the week Fitzpatrick would remain the starter for Sunday's game – as long as he was healthy enough to play. The two split first-team snaps during practice all week.
''Fitz wasn't completely healthy,'' Bowles said. ''Although he took reps in practice, Bryce took the `important' reps.''
Fitzpatrick was active for the game and served as Petty's backup, while rookie Christian Hackenberg was inactive.
''I wanted to start,'' Fitzpatrick said, ''but there's a lot of things that go into the decision.''
Fitzpatrick tried to prove to the coaches and medical staff before the game that he was ready to play, but they determined he would sit out and would play only in an emergency.
That put Petty under center, the 29th quarterback to start for the franchise since Joe Namath's final games with the Jets in 1976.
''He made some good throws,'' Bowles said of Petty. ''He's got some growing pains. He ran out there for the first time and from a composure standpoint, he was fine. He's just got to clean up a few things.''
After getting the ball with 2:55 remaining and down by three, Petty tried to lead the Jets downfield. But on second-and-7 from the New York 42, Petty's pass to Quincy Enunwa was picked off by Ogletree. Enunwa tried to wrestle it away from the linebacker to no avail, and Case Keenum took three knees to end it.
''This one hurts,'' Petty said. ''Kind of took this one on the chin for myself. I wanted a better outcome, but I love this game.''
Petty, a fourth-round draft pick out of Baylor last year, went 19 of 32 for 163 yards with a touchdown and the loss-sealing interception.
''This is hopefully the beginning of a long career for me,'' Petty said. ''It's at least what I anticipate, what I want. There's things you've got to learn.''
Greg Zuerlein kicked three field goals, including a go-ahead 34-yarder with 6:52 left, helping the Rams (4-5) snap a four-game losing streak and avoid their first five-game skid since weeks 9-13 last season.
The game featured 15 punts – eight by the Jets and seven by the Rams – as neither offense were the models of efficiency or excitement. New York finished with 296 yards of total offense, while the Rams had 280.
Petty drove the Jets 99 yards on the Jets' second possession, finishing with his first NFL TD pass with a little razzle-dazzle on a toss to Brandon Marshall, who flipped it to Bilal Powell for a 4-yard score.
''I think he was efficient,'' Marshall said. ''He'll get better, and we'll continue to make plays for him.''
But Petty misfired on a long pass on third-and-14 from the Rams 32 that could've been an easy touchdown in the closing minute of the first half. He slightly overthrew Robby Anderson, who was wide open but had to reach high as the ball tipped off his hand.
''I've got to hit that,'' Petty said. ''I've got to make that as easy as possible. I wish I had that one back. Those are the plays in this kind of game that you've got to make. I missed that.''
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