EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Jets fans might have gotten a glimpse of the future on Sunday. Then again, maybe not. Either way, it wasn't exactly an encouraging sight.
Bryce Petty, in his first start as Jets quarterback, was OK. Nothing more (more on that in a moment). He certainly didn't do anything to suggest the Jets' future is bright. In fact, there was nothing encouraging -- or pretty -- about the Jets' 9-6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. And really, now that they're 3-7, it's hard to find anything encouraging about this entire season.
"I feel like, with the talent that this team has, we definitely have underachieved," running back Matt Forte said. "That's the most disappointing part. I feel like this team is so talented, but hasn't shown it."
Rinse, wash, repeat. It's the story of the season. And now they head into the bye week so they have time to think about what's gone wrong.
While they're doing that, here's some reading to keep them busy: My five takeaways from their hideous loss to the Rams.
1. The best thing that can be said about Petty: He wasn't a disaster.
That's pretty much it. (Unless you're a fan of game management.) He did a nice job of not forcing … well, anything. He threw a couple of nice deep passes -- one that dropped into the hands of Robby Anderson, another that sailed over his head -- but otherwise mostly threw short or checked down and dumped off. And he did a nice job with that, although even he admitted he was far too quick to do that at times. Clearly, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey reeled in his game plan to make it easy on the second-year pro who had only taken about half the snaps during the week. Maybe we'll be able to tell more if the playbook is opened up a little bit. But the fact that he held his own -- right up until the game-sealing interception when he threw it just a little to the wrong side of Quincy Enunwa -- should be enough to earn him another chance. Granted, right now Ryan Fitzpatrick is probably better and gives the Jets a better chance to win. But I can't say this enough: It doesn't matter anymore. Right now it's all about finding a quarterback for next year.
2. For two really cranky, sour, angry guys, Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson sure are quiet on the field.
By now it's clear they've got attitude issues and probably have always had them. But their cranky act and off-field problems would be so much easier to tolerate if they were performing. But against a quarterback that the Giants pressured like crazy just a few weeks ago, Wilkerson and Richardson each hit Case Keenum just once on Sunday and were largely quiet - as they have been for most of the season. The Jets recorded three sacks, two of which involved blitzing linebackers. But this is a team that was supposed to generate good and consistent pressure from their front three or four. It hasn't happened all year and this underachieving duo is a big reason why. Yes, the Jets' secondary is a mess and Darrelle Revis is showing his age. But they sure would look a lot better if Wilkerson and Richardson were consistently doing their jobs. Speaking of Revis …
3. Revis can't cover a team's No. 1 receiver anymore.
Enough. Every once in a while, he was step for step with Kenny Britt -- who isn't exactly a top-10 receiver, by the way -- but most of the time it looked like Britt was toying with him. Britt had seven catches for 109 yards and Revis was "covering" him on five of those. I don't know if Buster Skrine would do a better job (although it looked like he did on a few plays on Sunday) but at this point, isn't it worth a try? If Revis is isolated on Julian Edelman in two weeks, Tom Brady is going to exploit that matchup all game long.
4. Free Bilal Powell.
Every time he touches the ball, he seems to provide a burst of energy. He's been fantastic in the passing game, where he led the team with seven catches for 52 yards, but he's vastly underused in the running game (four carries, 37 yards, or 9.3 yards per carry). He's averaging 6.8 yards per carry this season but he's only been handed the ball 40 times. Forte is the No. 1 back and fared pretty well on Sunday (20 carries for 98 yards) and has been for most of the season (732 yards, seven touchdowns). But Forte has 189 carries to Powell's 40, which doesn't make a lot of sense given Forte will soon turn 31. Not that any of this matters anymore, but the Jets would be more dangerous on offense if they'd split those carries up a little bit more.
5. Todd Bowles' game management was misguided.
I have to admit: this didn't bother me at first. Bowles, with his team down only three (obviously) chose to use the Jets' last two timeouts while his team was on defense and with nearly four minutes remaining. He called the second with 3:51 left on second-and-14, and the third with 3:45 left on third-and-17. I get it; he wanted to give Petty time. And it worked when he got the ball back with 2:55 remaining. But in hindsight, he should have let the clock run and take maybe another minute off the clock so Petty had less time, but two timeouts to use. That would've given him a security blanket -- a way to stop the clock if something went wrong, or an excuse to throw over the middle instead of toward a place where his receiver could get out of bounds. It's not a big deal, and it may not even be considered a mistake. But with a young quarterback making his first start, Petty could have used more of a cushion as opposed to rushing plays - which is what could have happened if the drive ever developed into something.