East Rutherford, N.J. - It was a true barnburner at MetLife Stadium filled with thrills, excitement and nail-biting intensity. Sorry, had to keep readers interested. A combined 12 points in three quarters gave fans knots in their stomachs of both anxiety and frustration until a Greg Zuerlein field goal propelled the Los Angeles Rams over the New York Jets, 9-6.
"We were giving our offense too many chances backed up (on own side of the field)," Bowles said after his team lost for the second consecutive game. "It was a tough game to lose. We can do better things to help get off the field."
The Bryce Petty era officially kicked off Sunday as the former fourth round pick out of Baylor looked strong out of the gate completing 9-13 for 98 yards and one touchdown in the first half but finished with a thud. It was a breath of fresh air for Jets fans that sat on their hands the entire game, especially when Petty found a streaking Robby Anderson along the sideline for a 52-yard reception in the opening frame. But, the untested quarterback failed to sustain the positive vibes failing to touch the score sheet in the final 30 minutes.
"(Petty) made some good throws but he's got some growing pains," said Bowles. "Just being out there for the first time from a composure standpoint, he was fine. He just needs to clean up a few things."
As for the starter for the game in two weeks against the New England Patriots, Bowles said: "We'll evaluate that next week."
Sunday's tilt between two mediocre teams can be summed by missed opportunities. The Rams finished 0-3 in the redzone while the Jets were only in the area once. On the opening drive of the game, Case Keenum (17-30, 165 yards) picked apart the Jets secondary - most notably Darrelle Revis - driving 73 yards downfield in 12 plays to the tune of a 20-yard field goal from Zuerlein. Keenum consistently connected with wide receiver Kenny Britt (7 catches for 109 yards) throughout the game.
After a brief and conservative opening drive for Petty, the second year quarterback constructed an impressive nine play, 99-yard drive that finished with head-turning trickery. Highlighted by the 52-yard pass and catch from Anderson, the drive saw Petty chop the field as the Rams offered soft coverage.
On third-and-goal in the second quarter, Petty sent a pass short to his left that was caught by Brandon Marshall. With Quincy Enunwa setting up a block, Marshall flipped the ball to a hooking Bilal Powell who found the endzone for a touchdown. Nick Folk would miss the extra point - the second time this season - giving the Jets their only points of the day.
While the Rams continued to get their opportunities inside the redzone, the Jets defense made the necessary stops to hold Los Angeles. After the Jets touchdown, the Rams would punt the ball three more times to finish the first half. New York held the 6-3 advantage at the break, outgaining the Rams 193-148.
The second half started following a similar script that plagued the Jets in spurts of the first 30 minutes. Questionable and conservative play calling from the coaching staff did not allow Petty to stretch the field. But, it gave opportunities to Matt Forte and Powell, who continued to rush efficiently. On 20 carries, Forte compiled 98 yards, busting a 28 yard run down the sideline in the first half and Powell ran it four times for 37 yards and caught seven passes for 52 yards.
"We were trying to run the ball and balance the offense," said Bowles.
Midway through the third quarter, Los Angeles offense - which was stagnant for a large portion of the game - found a rhythm. Keenum and Todd Gurley found holes in the Jets secondary and drove into the redzone. But, like the previous tries ended - the Rams were unsuccessful. The drive lasted 15 plays totaling 55 yards and finished with three points on the scoreboard, 6-6.
Like the offense, the Rams defense tightened up their game in the second half - holding the Jets to 103 yards and zero points. Petty could not find his way and many of his completions were short passes that were far from the first down marker.
"They were playing us pretty tough in the second half. When defenses do that, you have to make plays when you can," said Petty. "That comes from knowing and understanding situations. You learn from that. I can't wait to go back and watch the film and learn from this."
After a short punt from Lachlan Edwards midway through the fourth quarter, the Rams found success trusting Gurley. Keenum handed the ball to Gurley four times for 28 yards to Los Angeles into field goal range. Zuerlein converted the 34 yard field goal to give the Rams a 9-6 lead that the Jets could not recover from.
In this ugly game, it was a case of both offenses struggling more than the defenses being dominant. Regardless, the Jets failed to generate any offensive success for the majority of 60 minutes and it ultimately proved to be the downfall.
New York drops to 3-7 as they enter the BYE week. The rival Patriots come to town in two weeks looking to put the final nail in the coffin for the Jets season.
Joe Barone is a staff writer for JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@28JoeBarone), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).