This past Monday night, the New York Jets began their 2018-19 campaign in Michigan where they battled the Detroit Lions. For the Jets, rookie Sam Darnold made his highly anticipated debut. With that, he also became the youngest quarterback in NFL history (21 years, 96 days old) to start an opening game. After a satisfying preseason, many Jet fans wanted to know can the young phenom handle the bright lights that comes with playing football in the “Big Apple” let alone a big stage like Monday Night Football? With the first game in the books, Darnold showed that he can indeed be pretty DARN good!
As you would expect any 21-year-old player to show in his first game, the nerves were there at least in the very first play of the game when Darnold threw an unbalanced pass which was intercepted and taken back for a touchdown by the opposing secondary, putting “Gang Green” in a quick 7-0 hole. Darnold walked over to the sideline and was consoled by teammates. After that, he seemed to be able to put away the first play hiccup. When asked about that first play, Darnold said, “After I got that first play out the way, I was able to just relax and just play. Someone on the sideline told me Brett Favre’s (legendary Packers quarterback) first NFL pass was a “pick-6” as well.
As for the rest of the game, the Jets looked like a team who was well-prepared to face the Lions. The team’s defense collected four interceptions including 2 of them by third-year linebacker Darron Lee. Darnold completed 16 of 21 passes for 198 yards and 2 touchdown passes as he led the Jets to a 48-17 victory. After the game, Darnold was seen in the team’s locker room where he was embraced by his father as he hugged him and said, “That was fun.” He was then embraced by his mother.
The positive take in Darnold’s performance was although he showed signs of bending, he never broke. It’s the kind of resilience Jets fans hope they will see not only this season, but for years to come. Darnold will now look to encore his performance for the first time in front of Jets fans as they take on division rival the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Sports Notes: (Football) Week 1 in the NFL for both the Jets and Giants are complete. E-mail me at Castroeddie714@gmail.com and tell me your thoughts about your New York teams in Week 1.