EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — It was ugly. And, embarrassing. And mostly downright pitiful.
The New York Jets were thoroughly outplayed and outclassed by Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, hitting rock bottom in a season that has been spiraling for weeks with a brutal 41-10 loss in front of a national TV audience Monday night.
"I thought for the first time this year, we got our asses handed to us," coach Todd Bowles said. "That's very disappointing."
Luck returned after missing a game with a concussion by throwing for four touchdowns, three to Dwayne Allen. It was 24-3 at halftime, and the game was over at that point.
"I thought they kicked our asses," Bowles said, repeating that often in his postgame news conference. "It's very troubling when you get your ass kicked."
An ineffective Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched in the third quarter for Bryce Petty, who will start the final four games for the Jets (3-9).
"The plan was to start him the last four games, anyway," Bowles said. "So, we just started a half early."
It was the culmination of an awful night — and the epitome of what has been a terrible year — for the Jets.
"This is a character-building season," wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. "It's one of those seasons when each man has to look himself in the eye and ask himself, 'What type of player do you want to be? What type of man do you want to be?' You go from there."
The defense got booed, and then chewed out on the sideline by Bowles.
"Too many cuss words to mention," the coach said.
The offense was booed, too.
So was New York's special-teams unit.
The biggest cheers from a half-empty MetLife Stadium came when two shirtless fans were tackled to the turf in the second half.
"Guys have got to play harder," defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson said. "But we're not going to point the finger. ... Coming out on prime-time football and playing like that, it's not up to our standards."
So, the Jets will now look to the future because their playoff hopes are shattered. Petty, a fourth-rounder out of Baylor last year, will get his second NFL start next Sunday at San Francisco.
Fitzpatrick said he was told of that plan by some "offensive coaches," but seemed unaware he would be stuck on the sideline for the rest of the season no matter how he played against the Colts.
"We could've won 45-0, and (Petty) was going to start the last four games," Bowles said. "That's the slot we had penciled for him and it's a good time to take a look at him."
Petty finished 11 of 25 for 135 yards with a touchdown to Robby Anderson and two interceptions.
"To be honest, I didn't feel like I played to my ability tonight," Petty said. "I think I was pressing a little bit, whether I was trying to create a spark or create a big play."
Fitzpatrick, in what could be his last appearance on the field in a Jets uniform, was 5 of 12 for 81 yards with a pick. He re-signed with New York on a one-year, $12 million deal after setting a franchise record with 31 touchdown passes last season.
"I just, I didn't get it done," Fitzpatrick said.
Neither has the defense, which has been subpar all season after being expected to be a strength. The Colts rolled up 421 yards of total offense and 27 first downs against the Jets, who appeared listless from the start.
"They came here to win and we're supposed to stop that from happening," safety Rontez Miles said. "There was nothing positive."
The hot seat is getting warmer by the week for Bowles, who's in his second season as coach with the Jets. They went 10-6 last year, losing in the season finale to miss the playoffs.
Questions about his in-game decisions and his ability to prepare his players have increasingly become a topic. That has led to speculation whether the Jets could look elsewhere for next season, especially if the losses continue to pile.
"I coached for my job the first day I took this job," Bowles said.
For now, the focus turns to the next game. And that means watching the film of this loss and then moving on to preparing for San Francisco (1-11).
"We'll come in Wednesday and we'll play the guys who want to play," Bowles said. "But we got our asses handed to us, and we're going to see what kind of pride we've got this week."
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL