SANTA CLARA, Calif. — An interception on his first passing attempt and a 14-point halftime deficit wasn't the ideal start for Bryce Petty and the New York Jets in a road tilt against the one-win San Francisco 49ers.
However, in what many “insiders” are calling his open audition for 2017, the 2009 Midlothian High graduate led the Jets all the way back for a 23-17 overtime win Sunday afternoon against the still-one-win San Francisco 49ers.
While NFL games on the East coast were hampered by wind, rain and even snow, weather was non-factor at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
With the game tied at the end of regulation, 17-17, the (4-9) New York defense stopped (1-12) San Francisco in its tracks on its sixth play of overtime. Carlos Hyde was tackled for no gain on fourth-and-2 at the Jets’ 37-yard line. Petty and the Jet offense wasted no time, 4:10 of game clock, in finding the end zone to complete the come-from-behind win.
“It feels great, you know what, it was just an all around team win. That was probably about the worst or ugliest first half that I could have played, but they just kept with me and there was encouragement the whole time,” Petty told NewYorkJets.com in the locker room after the game. “[…] I kept telling myself that something good was going to happen. Something good is going to happen. And then we made some plays there at the end.”
Petty highlighted the drive with a 26-yard completion to Robby Anderson down the left hash to the Niners’ 25-yard line. Bilal Powell carried three-straight times, with the third being the eventual 19-yard game-winning touchdown.
Powell entered the game after the starter, Matt Forte, exited with an apparent knee injury on the Jets’ first possession.
“BP [Bilal Powell] is a very, very talented back and we are lucky to have him. It just happens that we have another great running back also and he is behind him. [Powell] makes plays like that all the time,” said Petty of Powell, who finished with 145 rushing yards. “Some of his best plays are on third and short or in the middle of the field and you see the end results there on the touchdown run, but that is just what he does, he makes plays.”
Petty, who took every snap under center for the Jets on Sunday, finished the game 23-of-35 for 257 yards and a 75.5 passer rating with the lone interception. He also added four carries for 19 yards.
“I think that is just the game of football. There are four quarters and it is 60 minutes and you just have to play it that way,” Petty said. “Obviously it was not the start I wanted, because we preach about starting fast, starting fast, starting fast and then that happens. But things are going to happen — unfortunate things or fortunate things, however it might fall — but you just have to roll with the punches and stay even keeled. Again, I can’t stress enough how important the encouragement and support and fight from the team was.”
As a team, the Jets finished with 24 first downs to the 17 of San Francisco. Petty and company accounted for 404 yards of offense and converted on 8-of-their-18 attempts on third down.
The Jets return home for a 7:25 kickoff on Saturday, Dec. 17 against the (8-5) Miami Dolphins. The game will be aired on NFL Network.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith