Petty not pretty, but mostly solid with 'moxie' in Jets win
NEW YORK (AP) Rough beginning, gritty finish - and a mostly solid performance.
That was Bryce Petty's second NFL start in a nutshell, a 23-17 overtime victory for the New York Jets on Sunday at San Francisco.
''He had some moxie,'' coach Todd Bowles said during a conference call Monday. ''But he had some reads he'd like to have back and some things he could've done better, but as the game went on, he got a little more comfortable and started using his legs better.''
Petty tossed an interception on his first pass that led to a 49ers touchdown one play later, but he wasn't rattled.
He finished 23 of 35 for 257 yards, and had four rushes for 19 yards. No run was bigger than his 2-point conversion run when he looked more like a tailback than a quarterback, shaking off linebacker Ahmad Brooks and spinning his body into the end zone to get the Jets within 17-14 with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
''He started competing and he got a little more relaxed and his competitive nature started to come out,'' Bowles said during a conference call. ''He forgot he was like a first-year starter and started playing more to himself, so that was encouraging.''
Petty was elevated to starting quarterback for the final four games of the season by Bowles last week, pushing Ryan Fitzpatrick to the sideline. With New York out of the playoff hunt, the team decided to give Petty an extended look to see, perhaps, if he could be their quarterback heading into next season.
A fourth-rounder last year out of Baylor, Petty showed the inconsistencies of a young and developing quarterback.
''There were steps because he actually started and prepared and played a whole game without having to look over his shoulder or come in for an emergency,'' Bowles said. ''There's a long way to go, but there were some steps early on.''
Petty had some gunslinger-like throws down the field, including one late in the second quarter that threaded the needle so closely that it first appeared it was intercepted, but was actually caught one-handed by Quincy Enunwa.
There was also the play that helped set up Bilal Powell's winning touchdown run in overtime when Petty rolled to his left and, while facing pressure, launched a pass down the field to Robby Anderson, who leaped to make a 26-yard catch.
''Shoot, I think you just play QB and you go off your instincts,'' Petty said after the game.
Petty also had a handful of moments when he held the ball a bit too long, resulting in several of the 49ers' six sacks.
With three games to go - all against AFC East opponents - the Jets would like to see a few things from Petty moving forward, including better command of the offense, as well as clock and game management and making the right reads.
''Allow himself to play more for who he is as opposed to just being in the system and allowing some of his moxie to come out with some of the things he can do well, like move in the pocket and get his legs moving and get involved,'' Bowles said. ''You hope to see some of the corrections with the reads made in the coming weeks and making those types of throws and getting better from there.''
After the game, Petty gave himself mixed reviews, but was just thankful for the victory.
''The first half was probably about as ugly as I could play,'' he said. ''I came out a little more nervous than I thought I was going to be. I felt good all week, good practices all week, and then, for whatever reason, I just have to settle down. Hats off to the team for just sticking with me.''
Petty has a short week to prepare for Miami, with a home game Saturday night. After dealing with some nerves against the 49ers, Petty hopes there will be fewer knots in his stomach against the Dolphins.
''I hope that feeling starts to leave the more games that I get in there,'' Petty said. ''I don't know, in a sense, I like being nervous, I love it. I feel like the day that I stop getting nervous for football is probably the day that I'm going to hang it up. I'm just so passionate about football, and it's that feeling that football gives me that nothing else gives me.''
NOTES: Bowles said RB Matt Forte is day to day with a right knee injury after having an MRI on Monday, but wouldn't go into details. Forte left the game in the first quarter and didn't return. ... Bowles said rookie Brandon Shell, a fifth-rounder and the great-nephew of Art Shell, could start at right tackle if Breno Giacomini (back, shoulder, calf) and Brent Qvale (left hamstring) are unavailable.
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