Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Darnold off the mark as Jets maul Lions

Jets ready to find out if they have enough help for Sam Darnold Modal Trigger Leonard Williams, Matthew Stafford and Sam Darnold Getty Images Paul J. Bereswill
Jennie Wade | 11 September, 2018, 15:57

The Detroit Lions begin playing the games that count when the team takes on the New York Jets in the NFL's Monday Night Football showcase. Not one - no pick-sixes, no fumble recoveries - none. "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.

One victory doesn't make the Jets a Super Bowl team, but the lopsided nature of this one is hard to ignore, and now NY has winnable games the next two weeks against Miami and at Cleveland. Stafford went 27 of 46 for 286 yards, but it was his first four-interception game since 2013. For the record though, the Lions did end up winning the toss.

Lee, who had two interceptions, stunningly described how the Jets defense was calling out plays before the Lions snapped the ball, based on formations, personnel groupings and hand signals they'd studied on film.

Roberts' 78-yard return gave NY a three-touchdown advantage.

Jets running back Isaiah Crowell gained 102 yards on 10 carries and scored two touchdowns. Jameis Winston had his first pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown in 2015.

Darnold's start to this game was pretty much the worst-case scenario. On his first play from scrimmage, he threw an interception that Quandre Diggs returned 37 yards for a touchdown. Darnold faked a handoff left to Bilal Powell and rolled right.

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As the final seconds ticked off on the Lions' humiliating 48-17 loss Monday night, general manager Bob Quinn stepped into an elevator on Ford Field's press level and slumped against the back corner, mouth agape, eyes down - the picture of complete bewilderment.

Darnold couldn't possibly have scripted a worse start to his National Football League career, and you won't be surprised to see that Twitter showed him no sympathy. Instead of a quick slant or something similarly easy to get Darnold settled in, the Jets got tricky.

An anemic first quarter of offense set the tone. Trumaine Johnson, Morris Claiborne and Jamal Adams also picked off passes in a big opener for the Jets' "New Jack City" secondary.

After one play, Darnold's career line read: 0-for-1, 1 INT. The 20-yard pass he made on that drive, rolling to his right and whipping a throw to Terrelle Pryor while on the run, again represented his unusual skill set.

Apparently, the Jets had a hint on where Stafford was throwing the ball.

But by halftime, the Jets were up 17-10, and Darnold's debut was looking a lot better. The Jets stocked their defense with all these young starters, and then they added their hopeful face of the franchise.

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