Last night’s Monday Night Football game didn’t go the way Lions’ fans expected, as the team took a crushing 48-17 defeat from the New York Jets. For starters, new head coach Matt Patricia and his Detroit defense gave up 48 points to a Jets team that, according to many experts and fans, were supposed to have a lot of offensive issues (particularly with the offensive line) coming into last nights game. Yeah, the Jets offense believes otherwise, just ask Sam Darnold.
After throwing an ill-advised pix-six to start his NFL career, Darnold displayed tremendous bounce-back ability and composure by playing lights out and torching the Lions’ secondary. He completed 16 of 20 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns, while at the same time proving he was worth trading up for back in April. Not a bad start for the 21 year-old out of USC.
At the same time, New York seemed to exploit Detroit’s front-seven and secondary. Perhaps this Jets’ offense with the likes of Isaiah Crowell (who rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns on ten carries), Robbie Anderson (who hauled in Darnold’s first regular-season touchdown pass of 43 yards), Quincy Enunwa (who also caught 6 balls for 63 yards and Darnold’s second touchdown throw of the night, 21 yards), and a host of others should be considered slightly underrated thus far.
One of questions asked at Darnold’s post-game press conference was regarding the ill-advised pix-six that made it seem as though he could’ve been in for a rough night.
“Thanks for bringing that up, really appreciate that,” he said, smiling. Darnold went on to admit he was “pretty nervous.” He quickly put that behind him and then said, ‘OK, here we go. Can’t get much worse than that.'”
Even after the rough start, Darnold displayed true poise, accuracy, and timing with all of his 16 completions. His ability to escape pressure and make plays while outside the pocket and on the move is extremely impressive for someone who is as young he is. It’s almost as if Darnold was the 9-year veteran and Matthew Stafford was the rookie. Yes, he looked that good!
While the rookie did showcase of what is to come (hopefully) for this Jets offense in 2018 and beyond, let’s not forget to give Gang Green’s defense some credit as well. New York’s defense, who is much-improved compared to 2017, showed speed, agility, play-recognition, and essentially anything else you could ask of a young and talented defense to display.
Remember too, this secondary was missing starting SS Marcus Maye. But never fear, as Jamal Adams, Darron Lee, Trumaine Johnson and this entire defense were there to help force four Matt Stafford interceptions, which was more than Stafford had at home all of last season.
Speaking of which, while Sam Darnold was tremendous, Matthew Stafford was horrendous, as he tossed four interceptions, including a pix-six of his very own. This Jets defense made Stafford look like a JV quarterback, and that’s putting it kindly. Needless to say, it was a night to forget for Stafford and this Detroit Lions’ offense.
This game is something Matt Patricia and crew will have to address quickly. Bare in mind, being in the NFC North doesn’t make their path to the playoffs any easier. One thing’s for sure though, should Detroit wish to even entertain the thought of making the post-season, Stafford, and the rest of this Detroit team for that matter, must play better throughout the remainder of the regular season. Otherwise, they can kiss their playoff dreams and aspirations goodbye (at least for the 2018 season).
Meanwhile, if Sam Darnold can continue his hot-streak of tremendous quarterbacking play, and the defense can continue their dominance over the next several months, seeing the Jets as a contender for a Wildcard spot in 2018 isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.
For now though, it seems as though New York has found their franchise quarterback of the future, something they have been longing for throughout the last several decades. At long last, the Jets have their guy, and his name is Sam Darnold!