Santa Clara, California - Bilal Powell powered his way to 145 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns as the New York Jets overcame a 14-point deficit to outlast the San Francisco 49ers in overtime, 23-17. The win improves New York's record to 4-9 while snapping their four game losing streak. San Francisco falls to 1-12, losing for the 12th consecutive game.
"We played hard and we buckled down. The guys fought. They didn't give up," said head coach Todd Bowles. "They showed grit and determination."
Things started eerily similar to last game against the Indianapolis Colts. Just 56 seconds into the game, the Jets trailed 7-0. After 10 minutes of play, New York trailed 14-0.
Bryce Petty got his second career NFL start off on the wrong foot. One minute didn't even tick off the game clock before the second-year quarterback looked right and was promptly intercepted by Jimmy Ward. On the ensuing play, Colin Kaepernick (15-for-26, 133 yards and 1 touchdown) scrambled out and found Carlos Hyde for a 7-yard touchdown. It took seven seconds. Before Bowles could blink again, Shaun Draughn pushed his way into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown to make it a 14-0 contest.
"Obviously the interception (set it up), but we had some missed tackles that got them down there," said Bowles.
San Francisco showed why they are 1-12. After jumping out to the 14-0 lead, they failed to put their foot on the Jets' throats as kicker Phil Dawson missed two consecutive field goals from 44 yards and 48 yards to keep New York alive. Before Sunday's game, Dawson was 17-for-18 on the season in converting field goals.
The Jets mixed their play calls in the first half. They allowed Petty to stretch the field with his arm but also relied on Matt Forte and Powell. Forte sustained a knee injury and did not return to the game. Forte doesn't think he suffered ligament damage but did admit to feeling "cracking and popping" in the knee - as reported by Rich Cimini - and will undergo an MRI.
Forte's injury opened the door for Powell. After Dawson missed his second field goal attempt, Petty and Powell teamed up to bring the Jets down field. On the drive, the running back ran for 19 yards while Petty connected on passes with Austin Seferian-Jenkins (3 catches, 35 yards), Robby Anderson (6 catches, 99 yards) and Quincy Enunwa (3 catches, 29 yards) to bring New York into field goal range. Nick Folk drilled a 36-yard field goal and in 11 plays, the Jets were on the scoreboard but trailed 14-3.
San Francisco's kicker would redeem himself with a 47-yard field goal to put the 49ers ahead 17-3 but Petty kept the Jets alive despite being sacked six times - twice by DeForest Buckner.
"Bryce was up and down," said Bowles. "He made some throws, he got away with some things. But, he settled down and made some gutsy plays. We'll work on getting better from there."
The Jets had a chance to get back into the game as the second quarter came to a close. Trailing 17-3, Petty converted four consecutive passes to Brandon Bostick, Enunwa, Anderson and Powell to bring the Jets to midfield. But, the drive stalled after a sack to force a punt from Lachlan Edwards.
One half of the game was finished and the Jets were quiet offensively and defensively. Carlos Hyde ran wild on the Jets vaunted rush defense and finished the afternoon with 193 yards on 17 carries. The disappointing play prompted Bowles to leave the locker room at halftime with these words: "Pick this s--- up!" They did.
After a three-and-out to start the second half, New York constructed a 13-play drive lasting 7:25. A Folk 30-yard field goal trimmed the 49ers advantage to 17-6 with one and a half quarters still to be played. Powell compiled 39 yards rushing and receiving - a major contributor to the Jets scoring drive
"He singlehandedly broke every tackle he could break," said Bowles. "He ran, he blocked, he did everything. We wouldn't have won without him."
Bowles was right. Without Powell, the Jets couldn't have completed their comeback.
Down 17-6, Petty led the green and white on a 15-play, 66-yard drive. During the possession, Petty overcame important third and fourth downs thanks to Anderson, Charone Peake and Seferian-Jenkins. The Jets entered the red zone allowing Powell to put the finishing touches on the drive with a 5-yard score. New York elected to go for two to make it a three point game and Petty succeeded by running and diving his way over the end zone to make it 17-14.
"For (Bryce) to bounce back and get better as the game went on, I think early on the year, he may have not been so fortunate," said Bowles. "For him to come back and win it, says a lot about his growth."
The Jets defense woke up in the second half, holding the 49ers off the board. After the successful 2-point conversion, the Jets kept momentum on their side, holding San Francisco to just four plays and a punt to get the ball back.
"We stopped the run, we got some pressure on their third downs," said Bowles. "Some guys stepped up and made plays, they took charge in the fourth and won."
With less than three minutes remaining, Petty orchestrated an eight-play drive that brought the Jets into field goal range. With 43 seconds to go, Folk nailed a 50-yard field goal to tie the game, 17-17.
In overtime, New York came up with massive stop on fourth down to turn the ball around in their favor. After back-to-back runs for Powell, Petty tossed a pass to Anderson for 26 yards. Two small runs for Powell set up the game-winning 19-yard score following the left tackle.
"I'm happy for the guys. You lose a game Monday night like that, everyone takes criticism. This says a lot about their character," said Bowles.
With the win, Petty clinched his first career NFL victory and survived game one of his audition trial as starting quarterback for the New York Jets.
"It feels great, it was an all around team win. It was an ugly first half but the team kept with me. I kept telling myself 'something good is gonna happen,' and it did," Petty said. "That's the game of football. It's four quarters. It wasn't the start I wanted but things are going to happen. You just have to roll with the punches."
Brent Qvale - Hamstring
Marcus Gilchrist - Torn Patella Tendon (will undergo season-ending surgery)
Matt Forte - Knee hyperextension (will undergo MRI this week)
Buster Skrine - Concussion
Joe Barone is a staff writer for JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@28JoeBarone) or via email (email@example.com).null