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Jets may turn to Petty after losing two QBs

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History might be repeating itself for New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles.

The Jets may be down to third quarterback Bryce Petty this Sunday, when New York returns home to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in what shapes up to be a must-win game at MetLife Stadium.

Petty has never taken an NFL snap, but he is by far the healthiest quarterback on the roster after a 34-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Starter Ryan Fitzpatrick exited in the first quarter with torn ligaments in his left thumb while backup Geno Smith suffered rib and shoulder injuries while absorbing hits in the second half.

Fitzpatrick is expected to need surgery to repair his injury, though Bowles said he could play through it. Smith’s prognosis is better, but Bowles wasn’t sure if either player would be available against the Jaguars. He added the Jets are likely to sign another quarterback as insurance.

“Right now, not very high,” Bowles said of his confidence that either Fitzpatrick or Smith would be available Sunday. “I mean, it’s Monday, so it’s the day after, so those guys are pretty sore. I’ll have a better feel come Wednesday.”

By then, he’ll likely know if the Jets will have to try to make the playoffs with a third-string quarterback just as the Arizona Cardinals did last season. Bowles was the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals, who lost starter Carson Palmer in November and backup Drew Stanton in December. With third-stringer Ryan Lindley at the helm, Arizona still won the NFC West but got knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. Lindley is currently out of football.

Not surprisingly, Bowles offered no sign of panic at the possibility of playing a raw rookie in the middle of a playoff hunt. At 4-3, the Jets are in the thick of the AFC wild-card race even after the discouraging loss to the Raiders.

“It’s not disconcerting,” Bowles said. “There’s going to be injuries in the league. The fact that both quarterbacks are down — we had them both down in Arizona last year, so I’ve kind of been through it. We just have to rally as a team and not put so much weight on that position. And we have to play better everywhere else.”

REPORT CARD VS. RAIDERS

PASSING OFFENSE: C. The Jets’ aerial unit had little to do with an ugly loss, but the injuries sustained by QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith and WR Brandon Marshall made a rotten day even worse. Fitzpatrick (4-for-5, 46 yards) was off to a good start before suffering torn ligaments in his left thumb at the end of a 12-yard scramble. Smith (27-of-42, 265 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) looked OK considering he was playing his first game in 10 months, but he also made the head-scratching mistakes that were his trademark the previous two seasons. His interception to CB Charles Woodson was a poorly thrown ball into double coverage, while Smith suffered ribs and shoulder injuries in getting sacked three times and failing to slide during a scramble. Fitzpatrick actually had to take a snap late in the fourth quarter with Smith banged up. Marshall (nine catches for 108 yards) played through an ankle injury. WR Eric Decker (six catches for 60 yards and one touchdown) played despite being listed as questionable due to a bruised knee. WR Kenbrell Thompkins (six catches for 41 yards) impressed in his Jets debut and might be the new no. 3 receiver.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F. The secret is out: Stop RB Chris Ivory (15 carries, 17 yards), stop the Jets. Ivory had seven of his yards on one carry, which means he averaged less than a yard on his other totes. Smith and Fitzpatrick combined for 36 costly yards. The situation behind Ivory grew murkier as the usually ineffective RB Zac Stacy (three carries for 11 yards) played while RB Stevan Ridley didn’t play a snap despite being active for the first time this season.

PASS DEFENSE: F. This was bad – really, really bad. The Jets missed too many tackles to count in getting absolutely shredded by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (23-of-36 for 333 yards and four touchdowns). Missed tackling resulted in a 36-yard touchdown pass to receiver Michael Crabtree as well as a 59-yard touchdown pass to RB Taiwan Jones, who took a dumpoff and simply juked his way up the right sideline. Meanwhile, CB Antonio Cromartie was torched for a 49-yard touchdown catch by WR Andre Holmes, who finished with two touchdown catches. In addition, the Jets didn’t sack Carr once. At least CB Darrelle Revis did a decent job of shadowing Raiders rookie WR Amari Cooper (five catches for 46 yards). But that was small consolation in which the Jets secondary looked pretty bad.

RUSH DEFENSE: F. Raiders RB Latavius Murray (20 carries for 113 yards) set a season-high for yardage by an opposing runner, and he didn’t do it in garbage time: Murray had 11 carries for 65 yards in the first half and nine carries for 48 yards in the second half. More alarmingly, 82 of his yards came before contact, which meant the Jets couldn’t tackle anyone at any level.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B. Nick Folk nailed both of his field-goal attempts and sent all five of his kickoffs into the end zone. P Ryan Quigley averaged 45.5 yards on four boots. The Jets returned just two kickoffs against cannon-legged Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski while WR Jeremy Kerley had one punt return for six yards. But the Jets continued struggling in return coverage as Jones brought a kickoff back 41 yards to set up a Janikowski field goal.

COACHING: F. This game should put the brakes on the hype machine for the Jets as well as head coach Todd Bowles. The Jets looked to have Rex Ryan-like letdown following an emotional loss to the Patriots – especially on defense, where Kacy Rodgers’ unit looked as if it had never tackled before. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey had to go away from the run once the Jets fell behind by three scores in the first half, though with the way Ivory was running, there wasn’t likely much traction to be gained either way. For the second time this season, Bowles had a player active (Ridley) who never stepped on to the field, which is a questionable at best utilization of roster space. Bowles will have his hands full trying to salvage a once-promising season, especially if Fitzpatrick is out for an extended period of time.


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