The New Year
After selecting Sam Darnold in April’s NFL Draft the New York Jets CEO Charles Johnson spoke confidently about their pick. “I think people are going to look back … I honestly think they’re going to look back 20 years from now and say this is the moment the Jets shifted into a new year. The year that they became a great team.” Center stage for Monday Night Football the Jets announced the start of this new year for this team. Their top pick Sam Darnold became the youngest week one starting quarterback since the 1970 merger.
Despite being the youngest week one starter Sam Darnold displayed poise beyond expectations. After his first pass being intercepted and returned for a pick-six Darnold showed maturity in his ability to bounce back from a poor start. “On that Interception. I was pretty nervous. I’m not going to lie to you guys. But… I put it behind me. After the crowd got really loud after that pick, it was just, “Oh, shoot.” … Here we go. It can’t get much worse than that.” Darnold said.
Responding to the INT
He was right, it couldn’t get much worse than that. Because after the interception it was all uphill for the Jets. Darnold continued to prove the type of competitor he is that the Jets have fallen in love with his drive. Post interception Darnold finished the first half very efficiently passing for 122 yards and a touchdown going 11 for 14 in the first two quarters. Of the most impressive things was the ability for this team to convert on third down, going 4 for 4 in the first half. The quarterback was also able to show an ability to extend plays on his feet, run for the first down himself, and hit his receivers on the run.
With each play you could see the rookie getting more and more comfortable and confident on the field. This was in full display as the quarterback threw for his first NFL touchdown. Dropping back on third down after slight shoulder fakes to phase the safety Darnold let the ball go, throwing 41 yards to receiver Robbie Anderson for the score.The ability and courage to throw deep is what has Jets fans excited and hopeful in this young quarterback.
Second Half Jets
With the game tied 17-17 early in the third quarter Darnold led his team on a six play drive completing a couple of passes to wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, including an early 12 yard pass, and then an impressive 21 yard toss on the run that set up a touchdown to the returning Quincy Enunwa. Darnold finished the game with an efficient statline going 16-for-21 on his passes for 198 yards with two touchdowns and that early interception.
Although Sam Darnold is much of the talking points after the Jets week one game, he isn’t the full story. The Jets got production from every unit of their team. Which resulted in the Jets scoring 31 straight points in the second half. The Jets finished the game with a 48-17 victory over the Detroit Lions. The special teams, defense, and running game all came up big and were the games biggest take away.
Going into Monday Nights game there was a question mark with exactly how their special teams would look. The answers they gave tonight bring a lot of hope. Andre Roberts was very impressive in his role as a punt returner, setting up Darnolds first touchdown throw in the second quarter with a 32 yard return. This effort combined with another 78 yard return that he brought back for a touchdown. Kicker Jason Myers also contributed to the scoring with 35 and 32 yard field goals going 2-for-2.
Just like a major part of the Sam Darnolds night was a turnover on the first play of the game, the story for the Lions at the end of the game is turnovers. The Jets defense was able to come up with 5 interceptions. Darron Lee leading the way with two interceptions, returning one of them for a touchdown. Jamal Adams finished the game with his first career interception late in the fourth quarter. Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne also added an interception to their stat sheet.
The defense looked good all the way around, especially the second half. Despite not recording a sack the Jets defensive line did a good job of getting pressure which contributed to some of the Lions turnovers. A strength to the defense looked to be the secondary which the Jets hope will only gel more as the season goes on.
Going along with this new passing attack the Jets hope the momentum from week one carries over with their running backs to provide Sam Darnold strong backs to hand the ball to. Isaiah Crowell looked great in week one scoring two touchdowns on 10 carries for 102 yards, breaking a long 62 yard run for the Jets last score of the evening. The Jets running backs combined for 169 yards on the ground.
The Jets will return home Tuesday to prepare to host week two opponent the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at 1:00 pm EST. They hope to carry the momentum from week one and strong team play for their first home game of the season.
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