Published: Tue, September 11, 2018
Sports | By Angie Alvarado

Darnold sharp, but Jets’ rout of Lions a total team effort

Darnold sharp, but Jets’ rout of Lions a total team effort

The career of Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is off to an unfortunate start.

The Jets had played an National Football League record 73 games, dating to 2013, without a defensive TD before Lee returned one of his two interceptions 36 yards for a score in the third. The Jets matched their road victory total from last season (with one) and set a franchise record for points in a road game.

Darnold became the third quarterback in National Football League history to begin his career with a pick-six on his first pass attempt, joining Brett Favre and Jameis Winston, when his throw across the field intended for Bilal Powell was picked off by Quandre Diggs and returned 37 yards to give Detroit a 7-0 lead.

Jets coach Todd Bowles, though, knows what Patricia's defenses looked like with the Patriots. Just 67 seconds later, the Jets scored again on a 78-yard punt return by Andre Roberts. The Jets intercepted Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford four times, backup Matt Cassel once and swarmed the Lions running backs every time they touched the ball.

Stafford was out of rhythm nearly the entire game, as he completed only 27 of 46 passes for 286 yards.

As much as Darnold struggled with turnovers at USC, he had the moxie to overcome them and spark comebacks in a lot of games. On the first play from scrimmage, his ill-advised throw sailed toward the left sideline and was picked off by Quandre Diggs, who returned it 37 yards for a 7-0 lead.

Darnold won the starting job in the preseason, which was no surprise. "I need to continue to prove it to myself, prove it to my teammates and prove it to the coaches that I can play this game at a high level", Darnold told ESPN. "JETS! JETS!" A crew clad in green and white filed into seats in four sections along the NY sideline and appeared to outnumber Detroit fans who stuck around for the bitter end.

The Jets dominated in all phases. NY completely buried the Lions in Detroit on Monday Night Football, and the exact moment it ended can be traced back to the third quarter.

Claiborne, Jamal Adams and Trumaine Johnson also made interceptions. But considering his performance in terms of rookie first-game efficiency, Darnold (116.8) fit right in between two Hall of Fame Jets rivals, the Dolphins' Dan Marino (108.7) and the Bills' Jim Kelly (119.8).

Then they piled it on in the second half.

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