Sam Darnold beat mononucleosis, and the New York Jets defeated the losing bug.
Unfazed by a three-game layoff, Darnold played one of the best games of his young career and sparked the Jets to their first win, 24-22 over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
“When you’re out for so long like I was, you realize this game is a privilege to play it,” said Darnold, who passed for 338 yards and two touchdowns.
With a hard-plastic guard protecting his back and previously enlarged spleen, Darnold said he “took a couple of shots” in the game, but he wasn’t worried about the possibility of his spleen rupturing. He was medically cleared only five days ago, five weeks after the diagnosis.
Showing no rust, Darnold knew from the first play — a 17-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas — he was destined for a big day. The highlight was a 92-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, the second-longest scoring pass in Jets history.cheap nike nfl jerseys china
“Sam is a special player,” running back Le’Veon Bell said. “You’ve got a guy in there who’s able to make plays, get the ball down field and get everybody lined up perfectly, getting them out of the huddle — a vocal leader. … We’ve been missing that these last couple of weeks.”
That’s an understatement.
With Trevor Siemian (one start) and Luke Falk (two starts) at quarterback, the Jets’ offense managed only one touchdown and averaged only 165 total yards per game. On Sunday, they produced three touchdowns and 383 total yards.
Falk played so poorly that he was released on Saturday. Head coach Adam Gase opted for the recently signed David Fales as his No. 2 quarterback.cheap nfl nike jerseys china
Publicly, the Jets’ coaches tried to downplay Darnold’s return, with offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains saying last week, “Sam is not a magic wand.” But, in a way, he was.
Gase was so happy to have Darnold back in the lineup that he kept calling pass plays later in the game, when running the ball and milking the clock might have been the conventional choice. The Jets nearly blew a 21-3 lead, stopping a two-point conversion in the final minute to preserve the win.
“There was a lot of good,” Gase said of Darnold, whose lone mistake was a red zone interception in the third quarter. “His pocket movement creates a lot of opportunities, and our guys did a good job of moving with him.”