On Sunday the New York Jets traveled to New Orleans to take on the Saints. This was the 13th all-time meeting between the two teams of which each team has won six games.
This was the first time the Jets traveled to New Orleans since Week Four of the 2009 season when Rex Ryan was their head coach.
Bryce Petty got the start for the Jets at QB replacing Josh McCown (broken hand). Petty played in seven games (four starts, in which he went 1-3) with 3 TD and 7 Int. He was 2-of-9 for 14 yards in relief of McCown in the loss to the Broncos last week.
As if things couldn’t get much worse for the Jets already, there isn’t much reason for Gang Green to hope that Petty will be their answer to their quarterback situation. Entering Sunday, Petty’s 15.8 Total QBR is the lowest of any QB with at least 100 action plays since the start of last season (53 QBs qualify).
This Sunday was not any better for Petty, who finished with just 179 yards on 39 pass attempts. Despite a spirited effort by their defense, who forced three turnovers, the Jets fell to the Saints 31-19.
Here is how the game broke down (events are in real time)
The Saints received the ball first and it didn’t take them very long to put pressure on the Jets 21st ranked defense. On just their third play from scrimmage, Saints QB Drew Brees connected with Mark Ingram for 54 yards on a swing pass that moved the ball to the Jets 10-yard line. This was the 60th play the Jets allowed this season for 20 or more yards.
The Jets defense stiffened however, and held the Saints to a 23-yard field goal by Wil Lutz. This was the 28th consecutive possession the Saints converted a trip into the red zone into points (20 TD, 8 FG). This was also the fourth consecutive week the Jets allowed their opponent to score points on their first possession.
After converting a first down, the Jets offense was unable to do anything else as they gained just 12 yards on their six plays.
New Orleans picked up where they left off on offense, but this time instead of a field goal, Drew Brees was able to lead them into the end zone. Facing fourth and two at the Jets six-yard line, Brees connected with Michael Thomas on a screen pass that was originally ruled a touchdown, but was changed after Thomas’ elbow was ruled down at the one-yard line. From there, Mark Ingram ran the ball in to extend the Saints lead. Brees led the Saints 82 yards on 13 plays, connecting with Ingram and Alvin Kamara on screen passes which led them down the field.
On their next possession, the Jets were able to get their offense going. Behind a strong running game, the Jets drove 75 yards on 12 plays, culminating with a two-yard TD run by Bilal Powell.
The Jets running game accounted for 55 of those yards to give them their first touchdown since Week 13. Bilal Powell gained 31 of those 55 yards.
The Saints offense continued their dominance on their next possession, as Brees drove them into the red zone for the third straight time. Brees finished an eight-play, 75-yard drive with a 10-yard TD pass to Alvin Kamara.
This was the 26th passing TD allowed by the Jets this season, which ties them with Giants, Browns and Broncos for most allowed in the NFL this season. For Brees it was his 20th TD pass this season, marking the 14th consecutive season he has reached that mark which breaks a tie with Dan Marino for 4th all-time.
After running the ball well in their last possession, the Jets offense went three and out. It looked like the Jets got a break when New Orleans was called for pass interference on the Petty’s third down incompletion, but the flag was picked up by the referee who said the ball was uncatchable.
For the first time the Saints offense was held without a first down on their next possession, as they went three and out.
Taking over with 2:57 left in the first half, the Jets managed one first down, but punted back to New Orleans after failing to convert a third and two.
The Saints took over at their own 15-yard line with 1:27 remaining in the half, but Brees was intercepted by Leonard Williams on second and eight. The Jets had caused their first turnover since Week 10 at Tampa Bay. The interception was just the seventh of the season for Brees and his first against an AFC opponent since Week 9 of 2016 against Denver.
Williams rumbled to the 11-yard line, giving the Jets a first and 10. After losing four yards on first down, the drive didn’t get any better for Petty and the Jets, who settled for a 29-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro.
FIRST HALF STATS
Bryce Petty: 7-15, 46 yards
Drew Brees: 15-19, 176 yds, TD, INT
Both teams started out slowly in the second half as the Jets totaled five plays before punting and the Saints went three and out for the second time in the game.
The Jets offense got back on track on their second possession of the second half, as they went 58 yards in nine plays and settled for a Catanzaro 26-yard field goal.
The Saint offense continued to struggle on their second possession of the second half, as they went three and out for the second consecutive time and the third time in the game.
Trailing by four, the Jets offense started out well on their next possession, earning two first downs, but their drive was derailed by an interception by Craig Robertson off a deflection. Robertson returned the ball to the Jets 33-yard line.
The Saints moved the ball inside the red zone, but gave the ball right back to the Jets when Brandon Coleman fumbled after a reception at the Jets six-yard line. That ended a streak of 30 consecutive drives inside the red zone that ended in points for the Saints. Marcus Maye delivered a nasty hit that jolted the ball free and Jordan Jenkins recovered it, as the Jets forced multiple turnovers in a game for the first time since Week 9 against the Bills.
Despite the big break, the Jets offense was unable to capitalize, as they went three and out.
Taking over at the Jets 45-yard line, the Saints quickly moved the ball inside the Jets 35. It looked like Brees connected with Michael Thomas for his second TD of the game, but replay officials ruled the Thomas did not get his second foot down in play. The officials overturn paid even bigger consequences for the Saints when for the second consecutive drive the Brian Coleman coughed the ball up inside the red zone. This time Buster Skrine knocked the ball loose, recovering the ball at the 15 and carrying it to the Jets 23.
Once again, however, the Jets and Bryce Petty were unable to capitalize, gaining just 18 yards on four plays.
After having committed three turnovers and just as many three and outs in the previous six drives, Brees and the Saints offense looked to put the game away. Brees drove the Saints 64 yards in nine plays, culminating with a four-yard TD pass to Michael Thomas.
Petty and the Jets offense could not answer and found themselves punting again after gaining just 22 yards on six plays.
The Jets defense once again forced held the Saints to a three and out, their fourth of the game, but time was running out on the Jets.
Petty was able to rally the offense however, leading the Jets on a six-play, 70-yard drive that ended with Petty’s first TD pass of the season as he connected with Elijah McGuire from two-yards out.
Having just one timeout left, the Jets needed to recover an onside kick with 1:50 remaining, but were unable to do so.
New Orleans then officially put the game out of reach as Mark Ingram ran the ball in from 50 yards to extend the Saints lead to 12. It was Ingram’s second of the game and 10th of the season.
After not reaching the 1,000 yard mark in his first five NFL seasons, Ingram has now reached that total for the second straight season.
Drew Brees: 26-36, 286 yards, 2 TD, INT
Bryce Petty: 19-38, 179 yards, TD, INT
The Saints nine-play, 64-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Saints an 11-point lead.
JETS OFFICIALLY ELIMINATED FROM AFC PLAYOFFS
Even though they had a very scarce chance of reaching the postseason entering Sunday, their loss against the Saints officially eliminated them.
FOURTH QUARTER DOES JETS IN AGAIN
As they have all season, the Jets were unable to get the job done in the fourth quarter as the Saints outscored them 14-7. For the season the Jets have been outscored by 69 points in the fourth quarter.
The Jets come home to MetLife Stadium for their last home game of 2017 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Mark Kelly covers the New York Jets for ProFootballSpot.com. You can follow him on twitter @CkmagicSports. Looking for more Jets news and features? Like our Jets Facebook page and also follow @spot_jets on Twitter.