The quarterback situation was already known before Gang Green faced New Orleans. After breaking his hand in Week 14 against the Denver Broncos, Josh McCown was out for the season.
Enter Bryce Petty, who made his first start for the team in 2017.
Right off the bat, the Jets tripped on their own feet. After the Saints scored a field goal on their first possession, New York’s offense had too many men in the huddle on the drive. That 5 yard penalty pushed them back to the Jets 26 yard line, leading to a punt back to New Orleans.
The Jets later answered a Mark Ingram touchdown with a Bilal Powell rushing score to have the Saints lead 10-7.
Drew Brees would pass a 10 yard TD to Alvin Kamara as the running back came out of the backfield. However, there was another flag of illegal substitution on the Jets final offensive possession, resulting in zero points scored.
After New Orleans punted on their next series, Chandler Catanzaro kicked a field goal to have the Jets trail 17-10 at the end of the first half.
In the 3rd quarter, Catanzaro would make a 26 yard field goal. However, on the next drive, Petty’s pass to Neal Sterling was intercepted by linebacker Craig Robertson, who returned the ball to the Jets 33 yard line. Once again, the offense failed to score a touchdown to keep up with the Saints.
In the 4th quarter, Brees hit a quick inside slant to Michael Thomas to lead New Orleans 24-13 over New York.
With 6 minutes left in the game, a flag was called on Petty on 3rd down. Cameron Jordan had tipped his pass in the air and Bryce caught the ball. He threw the football away, which was an illegal forward pass. The Jets offense punted it back to the Saints.
With 2 minutes remaining, the offense finally scored a touchdown on a 2 yard pass from Petty to RB Eli McGuire. However on the 2 point conversion, Jordan blocked the pass from Bryce which was intended for Jermaine Kearse.
New York still trailed 24-19, forcing head coach Todd Bowles to go for the onside kick. Unfortunately, they failed and the Saints took over at the Jets 40 yard line.
On the next series with a minute left, Mark Ingram took a handoff from Brees and rumbled 50 yards for a TD to put New Orleans up by two possessions and essentially end the game.
Petty threw a desperate deep pass on 4th down and 8 but he was intercepted by cornerback Marshon Lattimore to ice the game. The Jets fell to the Saints 31-19 on the road and their record dropped to 5-9 on the season.
Bryce was horrific on the day that he stepped in for the injured starting quarterback. He completed 13 of 39 passes for a measly 179 yards along with 2 interceptions. When Gang Green needed him to score points, he failed them. Out of the 4 times that the offense was in the red zone, Petty could only muster one touchdown. Even his head coach was critical of him after the game.
“He just didn’t make any plays. Plays that we needed him to make to win the game, he didn’t make.” Bowles said.
The entire offense continued to shoot themselves in the foot. After 13 games in the regular season, the Jets led the league with the 6th most flags and the 4th most penalty yards. Against the Saints after two quarters, New York was penalized twice for having too many men on the field. The Jets would continue to rack up flags, including Petty’s own illegal forward pass. Gang Green would end up with 8 penalties for 50 yards for the game, eliminating any kind of spark the offense would ignite.
The Jets needed to score touchdowns, not field goals, in order to defeat New Orleans. But with Bryce’s ineptitude along with the entire offense committing penalties, Gang Green kept going backwards on their drives. That is why they only had 294 total yards. Compare that to the 412 yards that the Saints generated. In a shoot out between Brees and Petty, the Jets offense was left behind on the field.