Sports

Fitzpatrick to remain Jets' starting QB against Colts

New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long (95) gets a hand on the ball as New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Patriots recovered the ball on the fumble. The Patriots won 22-17.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long (95) gets a hand on the ball as New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Patriots recovered the ball on the fumble. The Patriots won 22-17.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

NEW YORK — Fitz is still in for the New York Jets.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain the team's starting quarterback for its game next Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts. Coach Todd Bowles made the announcement a day after the Jets lost 22-17 to the New England Patriots and fell to 3-8.

"He's our starter," Bowles said during a conference call. "It's no different than anybody else on both sides of the ball right now."

Fitzpatrick was mostly solid against New England, going 22 of 32 for 269 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, but fumbled on New York's final drive when he was hit by Chris Long while attempting to throw. The Patriots recovered and ran out the clock.

Bowles was noncommittal to Fitzpatrick after the game, but he said Monday that he wanted to speak only about the loss. He added that he "knew all along" that Fitzpatrick would be back under centre this week.

"There was no debate," Bowles said.

With the Jets all but eliminated from playoff contention, some fans and media are calling for the Jets to play Bryce Petty and, perhaps, eventually Christian Hackenberg to evaluate the young quarterbacks.

"We get looks at them every day," Bowles said. "As a coach, you weigh trying to win ballgames first, and there's a time and place that those guys will get a chance to play. It just won't be next week."

Petty filled in for Fitzpatrick two weeks ago against Los Angeles when the veteran was sidelined with a sprained knee. The fourth-round pick out of Baylor last year went 19 of 32 for 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the 9-6 loss.

Hackenberg was a second-rounder this year out of Penn State, but from the beginning, this season has always been generally considered a "redshirt" type of situation as he develops and learns the system. While Hackenberg is likely to remain on the sideline, there remains intrigue over what Petty could do over a series of games — and not just in practices.

"There's a curiosity to all the young guys that are backing up right now," Bowles acknowledged. "But that doesn't mean I'm going to start them all right now. ... There are a lot of guys backing up right now that probably want to be in games that are not ready to play yet. I'll go from there.

"I have a timetable in my head for certain guys that I want to see at different positions. When that time comes, I'll make those decisions."

For Bowles, the goal remains to win games now — despite the growing public sentiment that that's the least important thing as the season continues to spiral.

"We're all fighters," Bowles said. "We're all trying to win every game, whether we're trying to get to 8-8 or whether we're trying to be 16-0. We're trying to win. It's not about Bryce. It's not about Fitz. It's about our team trying to win ballgames."

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