Monday, December 12, 2016

Petty and Powell Spearhead Jets Spirited Comeback

JETS 23 / 49ERS 17 - Overtime

Give it to the Jets, down 14-0 after the first five minutes of this game in San Francisco, they could have easily packed it in, and turned up the heat on their head coach Todd Bowles. Instead, behind a spirited effort by their young quarterback, Bryce Petty and some tremendous running by Bilal Powell, the Jets pulled out a 23-17 win over the listless 49ers (1-12) in Santa Clara.

While the Jets playoff hopes have been dead for weeks, this was a big win for a franchise that needed to show something after last Monday's 41-10 drubbing to the Indianapolis Colts. Let's break it down.

Todd Bowles: Make no mistake Bowles needed this win. Earlier on Sunday, CBS reported that Woody Johnson plans to commit to Bowles and Mike Maccagnan unless the Jets continue to perform ineptly down the stretch. Down 14-0 in the first quarter, those thoughts were on their way to changing quickly. We have seen owners say one thing and do another many times. Even Johnson has been notorious for that. He once gave Rex Ryan the dreaded vote of confidence before firing him at the end of the 2014 season when the team finished 4-12. The fact that the Jets showed poise and effort on Sunday bodes well for Bowles. If New York were to even win one or two more games here against their division, it will cement his return.

Bryce Petty: It was a mixed bag overall for Petty. Early on he didn't look good. He made the typical rookie mistake by telestrating his read on the first play of the game, only to have the passed picked off by Jimmie Ward at the Jets seven yard line. Petty was also sacked six times, and struggled to get the offense moving in the first half.

Still come the second half it was a totally new ballgame. He guided the Jets to a field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter, and would guide the Jets on scoring drives on four of their six possessions in the second half. With New York trailing 17-6 late in the third quarter, Petty was tremendous in engineering a 15-play 66-yard scoring drive that 8:23 off the clock. On third and 11 at the 49ers 46 he completed a nine pass to Brandon Marshall to set up a fourth and two. Petty converted the down on a key 10-yard pass down the middle to Charone Peake to set up a first down at the Niners 27. Three plays later, Petty dove for a first down on a third and four from the San Fran nine yard line to set up  first and goal situation.

Finally, with the game on the line, Petty was 3-of-4 for 27 yards as he guided the Jets to a game-tying field goal. Petty's leadership and poise under pressure was impressive, granted it was against the horrible 49ers.

Jets Spotty Defense: The Jets defense was spotty at best on Sunday. They allowed the 49ers to jump out to that aforementioned 14-0 lead, and watched as Colin Kaepernick completed his first six passes of the ball game. Worse off, the Jets had a hard time stopping Carlos Hyde. Hyde ran for 193 yards on the Jets, and nearly broke off a game winning touchdown run in overtime were he not knocked out of bounds at the Jets 45.

That being said, Gang Green's D kept the team in the ball game and made plays when they had to. No play was bigger than the fourth down and two stop of Hyde in overtime to turn the ball back over to the Jets offense.

Bilal Powell: I have said it many times, Bilal Powell is one of the most underutilized Jets on this roster. The kid has explosive written all over him. With Matt Forte out with a leg injury, the Jets turned to Powell and he rewarded New York with a game for the ages. Powell ran for 145 yards, including the game-winning touchdown in overtime. This is not the first time that the seldom used Powell has shown this kind of burst. He lit up the Buffalo Bills for 149 yards back in 2013. Powell, who was extended int the off-season will get an extended look at starting tailback down the stretch.

What's next? The Jets head home to host the Dolphins on Saturday night. The game means everything to the Dolphins, who at 8-5 need the win to keep pace with Denver and Tennessee for the final wild card slot in the AFC. The Jets lost a heartbreaker to Miami earlier this year and would love to deliver some payback.

What to expect: Expect the Jets to continue this transition with younger players getting more and more playing time. While the win vs. San Francisco was nice, keep in mind the Jets had to win two games this year while trailing by deficits of 13 and 14 against two teams that are a combined 1-25.

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