Bryce Petty’s body was crushed by the weight, sandwiched between the massive frames of Miami defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake.
The fierce blow — the end result of miscommunication on the part of the Jets’ makeshift offensive line — left the quarterback lying in a crumpled heap on the MetLife Stadium turf. It would be several minutes before Petty was helped to his feet and ushered to the sideline by doctors. And by the time starter-turned-backup Ryan Fitzpatrick buckled his chin strap in relief, the game already was long over.
The Jets (4-10) had a chance to play spoiler Saturday night against the Dolphins, who still have a shot at making the playoffs. But instead of hurting their division rivals’ chances, the Jets were outplayed on their home turf in a 34-13 loss.
And when it was all over, questions again lingered about the Jets’ quarterback situation.
Petty suffered a chest injury on the play, though X-rays were negative. He said he’s scheduled for a CT scan today to rule out a bruised or punctured lung. “I’ll be good. A little sore right now. But I’ll be fine,” he said, though he admitted that he felt a “pretty sharp, burning pain” when he tried to take deep breaths immediately after the hit.
In the aftermath of a second embarrassing defeat in prime time, coach Todd Bowles shouldered all of the blame — even though he said his players were “prepared” to play. “It’s all on me . . . I did a terrible job of getting them ready,” he said. “ . . . I can damn sure coach better. I will be a better damn coach and they’ll be a better team.”
They certainly weren’t the better team Saturday night.
Petty got the Jets to the Miami 13 with a 28-yard completion to Robby Anderson to start the fourth quarter, but the offensive line allowed Wake and Suh to come in unblocked on the play and they sandwiched Petty — hard. Several linemen failed to even move when backup center Wesley Johnson snapped the ball on the critical play. Said Bowles: “It was a bust in there, as far as from the call and snap count.”
“It was just a miscommunication,” Petty added. “But that’s part of football. That stuff’s going to happen. Robby made a great play. It’s just unfortunate that I had Cameron Wake and Suh right there.”
Team doctors and trainers came running onto the field as the 25-year-old lay writhing in pain. But after Petty was checked out on the sideline, the team announced that he had the wind knocked out of him.
Fitzpatrick — who lost his starting job to Petty after the Jets’ last embarrassing primetime defeat, a 41-10 loss to the Colts on Dec. 5 — finished the game. He was 5-for-10 for 31 yards and an interception in the final seconds.
Bowles and his staff have not yet determined whether Petty will be healthy enough to start next Saturday at New England.
The Dolphins (9-5) were the dominant team throughout. The Jets? Well, they continued their ongoing descent toward a better draft pick.
There were a few bright spots, though: Bilal Powell’s 162 yards from scrimmage, a 40-yard Petty-to-Anderson touchdown pass, a handful of Leonard Williams plays and rookie Juston Burris’ first NFL interception in his first career start.
But none of it could offset their embarrassing collapse on national TV, which included 21 points allowed by their defense in a four-minute span.
Only the Jets could make Dolphins backup Matt Moore — a quarterback who hadn’t started a game in five years — look like Dan Marino. Moore, who was thrust into action after starter Ryan Tannehill sprained his left ACL and MCL last week, completed 12 of 18 passes for 236 yards and four TDs in his first start since defeating the Jets, 19-17, on Jan. 1, 2012, with Bowles as Miami’s interim head coach.
The “Let’s Go Dolphins!” chants began picking up steam in the second half, and before long, Jets fans began trickling out of the half-empty stadium.
There was plenty for the local Miami fans to cheer, of course.
There was Wake’s strip-sack of Petty; the interception Petty threw right into the arms of Wake early in the second quarter; Kenny Stills’ 52-yard touchdown reception against Burris, and a punt by Lachlan Edwards that was blocked and returned 11 yards for a touchdown.