Sam Darnold made a stellar debut despite throwing a pick-6 on his first National Football League pass and the New York Jets intercepted five passes while routing the Detroit Lions 48-17 in their season opener Monday night.
"We were calling out their plays as he's getting up to the line'" Lee told reporters. Jets running back Isaiah Crowell provided the icing on the cake, capping off the scoring with a 62-yard touchdown run in the game's final minute.
I'm going to go with NO here and I'm not going to overthink it. Overall, he finished 16-for-21 for 198 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
"I know it sounds insane, but we're a lot better football team than we showed", tackle Taylor Decker said. "He didn't even blink", Jets coach Todd Bowles said of Darnold's early miscue.
Darnold was 11 of 15 for 122 yards after two quarters. On that same snap, Darnold dropped back for his first pass and threw a pick-six. "I could sit here and tell you we planned it to get the jitters out, but we didn't". Andre Roberts, who had already delivered one big return in the first quarter, tip-toed the sideline for a 78-yard punt return to the house.
Following the game, the Jets players said that the formations, as well as hand signals from Matthew Stafford, tipped the plays to the NY defenders.
His game highlight reel included one superb pinpoint pass to Robby Anderson for a 41-yard touchdown in the second quarter which helped put the Jets 17-7 ahead.
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Darnold joined Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston (2015) and Brett Favre (1991) as quarterbacks who had their first pass intercepted and returned for a score. "Obviously we have to coach this a lot better than what we did tonight".
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Speaking of passing, Matthew Stafford ranked third in passing yards and fourth in passing touchdowns last season. It seemed to be a odd play design that was entirely reliant on the Lions defensive backs falling for the misdirection. While the Lions didn't look capable of making a serious comeback bid this late in the game, finishing that drive would have at least ended a run of 31 unanswered points from the Jets.
"On that interception, I was pretty nervous", Darnold said. I just didn't make enough good decisions, enough good throws. The Jets stocked their defense with all these young starters, and then they added their hopeful face of the franchise.
Darnold and Jets look great: Sam Darnold's impressive debut was made possibly by the Jets' vastly improved defense. His first career pass was picked off by Lions defensive back Quandre Diggs and returned for a touchdown.
Do I expect the Lions to beat the 49ers, 42-0, on Sunday?
However, numerous subsequent key plays that turned what had all the appearances of a nailbiter into a rout were made by newcomers other than Darnold.