Darnold off the mark as Jets maul Lions

Doug Mendoza
September 11, 2018

Sam Darnold became the youngest quarterback to ever start a Week 1 game when he made his National Football League debut on Monday, and let's just say he did not exactly get off to a roaring start. Jets running back Isaiah Crowell gained 102 yards on 10 carries and scored twice.

The Jets even got defensive and special teams touchdowns, something that happens about as often as a Bowles belly laugh. Stafford was 27 of 46 for 286 yards and a TD pass to Golden Tate early in the third quarter to tie it at 17.

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They scored touchdowns on an interception return and a punt return in a 31-point third quarter.

There's no doubt the Jets' "New Jack City" secondary got jacked up to make Lions counterpart Matthew Stafford (four interceptions) look more like the rookie.

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

But on this night, at least, the Jets and their fans were completely justified in believing that there are big things to come with Darnold at quarterback.

As much as Darnold struggled with turnovers at USC, he had the moxie to overcome them and spark comebacks in a lot of games.

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The first was a lowlight as an ill-advised floater across the field was picked off by Lions safety Quandre Diggs and returned for a quick six points.

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.

After 26 more National Football League teams got their 2018 seasons under way Sunday, it's time tonight for the last two games of Week 1.

Darnold won the starting job in the preseason, which was no surprise.

The Jets dominated in all phases.

Darnold immediately calmed down after his gaffe on the first play of the game. NY capped the quarter when Isaiah Crowell scored on a 62-yard run with 54 seconds left, making the score 48-17. On third-and-2 from the Lions' 41, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates finally gave Darnold a shot to throw the deep ball and it worked. "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.

Then they piled it on in the second half.

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