New York Jets 19, New Orleans Saints 31: Trouble in the bayou (Highlights)
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The New York Jets were more competitive than expected, but still fell in the Bayou to the New Orleans Saints.

  • New York Jets 19 (5-9)
  • New Orleans Saints 31 (10-4)
  • NFL Week 15, Final, Box Score
  • Mercedes Benz Super Dome, New Orleans, LA

The New York Jets started the 2017 Bryce Petty era with his fifth career start in the Bayou to play the New Orleans Saints.

The Jets won the toss and deferred, but really it was a lose-lose scenario. If Jets win and took the ball they’d be throwing Petty into the fire in this hostile environment. But if they deferred, they’d be giving the Saints the opportunity to punch the Jets in the mouth. Which is exactly what they did with this Mark Ingram touchdown.

Actually, it was ruled out of bounds, although when you look at the replay, it’s clear as day Ingram kept his feet in. Saints head coach Sean Payton didn’t see it and didn’t throw the challenge flag, therefore, the Jets benefited and that ‘bend don’t break’ defensive mentality forced the Saints to opt for a field goal.

But with some more lifeless possessions of Jets offensive football, Mark Ingram would eventually find the end zone later in the first quarter.

We talked about our keys to the game earlier today and it was all about helping Petty out. That’s exactly what Bilal Powell did here. On this drive, it was three yards and a cloud of dust. After the Jets banged their proverbial heads against the wall enough, Powell broke through with the nice hurdle and then finished the job to get gang green on the board.

If you’ve been cryogenically frozen for the last three years, you’d think Drew Brees is the straw that stirs the drink for this New Orleans hand grenade. But actually, it’s the Saints dynamic backfield duo as we discussed in the pregame. Although knowing who is the X-factor is only half the battle. The other half is stopping it, the Jets were unable to do that in the first half of this game.

If Muhammad Wilkerson is going to be punished for being tardy to class, then Leonard Williams is going to get bonus points for being the teacher’s pet. Clearly, he did his homework in the film room and he was the beneficiary.

Not a bad time for Williams’ first career interception and the Jets Twitter account was right—those were some nice cat-like reflexes. That was also the Jets’ first turnover created in a month and it led to three points from No. 7, Chandler Catanzaro.

In the second half, though, we started to see the issues with Petty’s game and why many (myself included) think he’s a lost cause as a prospect. Intangibles can only get you so far. Petty has severe inaccuracy issues that aren’t correctable. You either have it or you don’t, and he doesn’t have it consistently. Although he did have it on this beautiful 38-yard rainbow pass that he dropped right in the bucket to Elijah McGuire.

If the Jets were a basketball team they’d be competing for NBA titles with all the threes they make rain.

Although in the NFL, fans prefer touchdowns as opposed to field goals. The Jets trimmed the lead to four, with the Saints still holding the edge, 17-13.

The Jets defense stiffened up in the second half and so did Petty, who seemed to finally start to settle down. But of course, if you get too lax, bad things can happen, Petty threw a pass that got deflected and intercepted. That was the first Jets turnover of the contest, which is usually a good recipe for success.

Speaking of turnovers, the Jets got their fourth red zone takeaway of the season shortly thereafter, thanks to a combo hit from Buster Skrine and rookie Jamal Adams. Jordan Jenkins got the recovery and gave Petty another chance to try and take the first lead of the game.

But all that did was delay the inevitable. Petty went three-and-out, giving the high-powered Saints attack another whack at the Jets defense. Man, I know there’s this black- magic voodoo down in New Orleans, but the Jets must have gotten a hand on it because Michael Thomas had two touchdowns in this game called back.

The Jets took advantage with their third turnover on the day and the second fumble by Saints wide receiver Brandon Coleman. Huge credit to Buster Skrine who’s struggled with penalties this year forcing the fumble and then also getting the recovery.

The Jets offense shouldn’t be limited because Petty isn’t a rookie, but it felt like he was all day, as the gameplan wasn’t all there. Limited playcalling really hurt the Jets today. The defense played at an elite level, while the offense was almost at color-coding Mark Sanchez levels of ineptitude.

Which resulted in the Saints getting more opportunities and for Thomas, apparently the third time was the charm as the Saints increased their lead to 11 with just under eight minutes remaining in the game.

Insert some garbage-time stats for Petty and this offense and that wraps up Week 15 for Gang Green. They did make it interesting at the end with a late Petty-to-McGuire touchdown and a very close onside kick, but we all knew how this was going to end.

The Saints recovered the onside attempt and then stuck the final dagger in the Jets with a 50 yard Ingram burst for the final score.

Thus, the Jets have officially been eliminated from the postseason with this 31-19 loss to the Saints.

The Jets now have two games remaining on the season: at home vs the LA Chargers and then on the road to finish things off against the New England Patriots.

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