Todd Bowles handed Bryce Petty the keys to the offense for the Jets’ game against the Rams on Sunday at MetLife Stadium and made Ryan Fitzpatrick the 911 quarterback — called on only in an injury-induced emergency or if Petty was completely ineffective— because of the knee he sprained last week.
Fitzpatrick practiced on a limited basis during the week. He would have played if it were up to him, but it wasn’t. Bowles made the call Saturday. So Petty led the Jets in their hard-on-the-eyes, punt-filled 9-6 loss.
“I wanted to start, but there’s a lot of things that go into the decision,” said Fitzpatrick, who entered the day as the NFL’s leader in interceptions with 13. “I’m a competitor. I want to be out there. In terms of how smart it was, I always want to be out there. I don’t care what’s going on with me.
“With Todd and the medical staff and everybody, they were able to come to that decision, and it’s one I’ve got to sit back and listen to.”
Fitzpatrick acknowledged that his left knee isn’t right at the moment.
“The MCL is a tough injury where it’s damage to the inside of your knee,” Fitzpatrick said. “So structurally there’s some stuff going on there that is not good. I’m not in crazy amounts of pain and staying up at night. But structurally there’s some stuff going on there that we just decided medically it wasn’t the best thing to do to put me out there.”
So he watched Petty make his first NFL start. The second-year pro went 19-for-32 for 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
“There are some really nice things that he could take from this game,” Fitzpatrick said. “But . . . it’s very hard to step in right away in your first game and understand it all. So it’s a process, and this is just the first step in his process.”
Brandon Marshall described the difference from Fitzpatrick.
“Experience,” the receiver said. “That’s the biggest thing. Fitz has seen so much. He’s seen everything that a defense can throw at you. Bryce hasn’t.”
The Jets have fallen to 3-7, but Bowles was noncommittal about letting Petty keep the keys after the upcoming bye week.
“I’ll look at the film and see how Ryan is feeling and go from there,” Bowles said.
Fitzpatrick, who turns 34 next week, said he isn’t thinking about whether he has taken his last snap as a Jet. Asked if he would be disappointed if Bowles sticks with Petty, Fitzpatrick said, “We’ll not live in the world of hypotheticals.”
This is a day-to-day injury, according to Fitzpatrick. With the bye, he can hope his knee will be in better shape when the Patriots pay a visit on Nov. 27. This MCL problem sure beats an ACL problem.
“If you’re going to hurt one of the ‘Ls,’ ” Fitzpatrick said, “I think it’s a good ‘L’ to hurt, just in terms of being able to have it heal up.’’