The following game story was written by Jets Inisder's Chris Nimbley
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - For the first quarter the Jets were flat-out terrible. Everything was awful. Nothing was good. Bad, bad, bad. Preseason is meaningless preseason and all but yikes that first quarter was gross.
In the first quarter the Falcons offense held possession for only four minutes and seven seconds but gained 81 yards (75 passing and six rushing) and scored 14 points.
A 60 yard dump off to fullback Collin Mooney, beating Quinton Coples in coverage as Coples couldn't adjust his body to make a play (and Todd Bowles said there was a miscommunication on the play), set up the first touchdown and a 59 yard punt return by Devin Hester set up the second touchdown on a two yard pass to Leonard Hankerson.
After those first two drives the Falcons took out most of their starters and the Jets defense sprang to life, starting with Leonard Williams with an explosive move off the edge and powerful finish for a safety of backup quarterback T.J. Yates to get the Jets on board.
"He (Williams) had two big plays," Bowles said. "We saw the big plays now we got to look at the film and see how he did on every other play but he did make two big plays and kind of turned the light on for everybody."
From there the Jets were able to rattle off 28 more straight points but it took the Jets first-team offense six drives to finally score themselves.
"No, we were going to play regardless. I think for me it was more looking at our team trying to gel than looking at who we were playing against," Bowles said. "I know it's a preseason game and having them only play a series last week they needed to play together and try to gel. So, we weren't worried about who they were going against, I know it's preseason, we were doing it for our sake and not theirs."
Ryan Fitzpatrick looked exactly as one would expect him to look. He made some good, safe throws but also showed his limited arm strength. Fitzpatrick finished the night going 13-19 for 118 yards, sacked once and no touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 85.0. But even those numbers are deceiving as Fitzpatrick's best throw was on a short hitch to Brandon Marshall who then turned upfield and took it for a 30 yard gain.
"He was steady," Bowles said about Fitzpatrick. "They knocked a lot of balls down, I got to see the film to see whether that was quarterback related or offensive line related but he was poised. He knew where to go with the football and he did a good job."
Bryce Petty played much better than he did last week in Detroit. Petty looked really good except for when he looked pretty bad but the good far outweighed the bad. Bowles said he thought the biggest difference in Petty was the rookie quarterback showed more poise tonight.
"For me he was a little more poised," Bowles said. "That's the progress we're trying to get with him, just get better every week and he got better from last week to this week so hopefully he'll keep moving forward."
Petty finished the game 12-19 for 168 yards and a touchdown for a quarterback rating of 109.1. That touchdown was a beautiful strike high and on the outside shoulder of DeVier Posey, perfectly placed where only Posey could catch it.
On defense Leonard Williams was the star of the game with five total tackles (four solo and one assist) and one and a half sacks, one of those sacks going for the safety. But Jamari Lattimore had a very impressive day himself. Lattimore also had five combined tackles (four assists and one solo) but his big play was an interception where he had excellent coverage, made a great catch and a 37-yard return and he could constantly be found wherever the ball was.
While Bowles was pleased to see the team bounce back and get the meaningless victory he was very upset about the 17 penalties that cost the Jets 125 yards. Tight end Kellen Davis had three of the penalties himself including one the negated a big running play.