A missing offense cost the New York Jets a chance to play spoilers in their penultimate game of the 2017 season. The Jets lost 14-7 to the Los Angeles Chargers in a game many would define as a snoozer. By avoiding a loss, the Chargers remain in the AFC playoff race while the Jets continue their climb toward the top of the NFL draft order.
New York wasn’t content with the idea of losing to improve a draft pick, however. Head coach Todd Bowles deployed an aggressive scheme from the get-go. On the opening kickoff, Chandler Catanzaro executed a perfect onside kick, which was recovered by rookie safety Marcus Maye. Although the Jets didn’t score, they sent a message that they were playing to win.
Unfortunately, things only got worse after that surprise onside kick.
In his second start of the season, quarterback Bryce Petty was troubled by accuracy issues that have plagued him for the entirety of his professional career.
The third-year passer finished 14-of-27 for 114 yards and an interception. He also appeared to be bothered by a wrist or hand injury, which didn’t remove him from the game, but caused some discomfort.
Bilal Powell was the only saving grace for New York’s offense, which has scored 26 points in its last three games. He dashed for rushes of 41 and 57 yards — the latter of which was the team’s only touchdown. If Powell’s three runs of at least 20 yards were removed, the Jets would have averaged a despicable three yards per play.
Matt Forte, the clear second-in-command at running back, cost the Jets in the first half by fumbling in field goal range after Powell’s 41-yard run.
Defensively, the Jets were fine outside of two drives. The unit didn’t force any takeaways, although it had its chances — Jamal Adams was inches away from his first career interception and twice the Chargers coughed up the ball near the goal line.
The worst mistake New York’s defense made was allowing Philip Rivers to lead a masterful eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive immediately after the Jets evened the score. On that drive, Adams was beat for a 23-yard reception by tight end Sean McGrath.
New York still had a chance to tie the game toward the end. A late fourth-quarter drive, prolonged by a questionable roughing the passer flag on Joey Bosa, ended after a turnover on downs. It was New York’s first non-scoring red zone trip in its last 21 tries.
Other news, notes and numbers from the New York loss:
- Defensive lineman Leonard Williams and right tackle Brandon Shell both left the game early with injuries. Williams, who was in the league’s concussion protocol this past week, injured his back in the first half. Shell made a tackle after a half-ending interception by Los Angeles wide receiver Keenan Allen, but did not return with a head injury.
- There were 18 punts in the game, a stat that epitomizes just how futile both offenses were.
- Petty has not been great as the Jets’ starter. In his six career starts, the Jets are 1-5. He has thrown just three touchdowns compared to eight interceptions. He has thrown a pick in each of his first six starts, tied for the longest such streak in franchise history.
- If New York falls to New England in the season finale, it will mark the first season since 2002 that the Jets had a three-game winning streak and a four-game losing streak.