Darnold re­cov­ers from 1st- play pick-6; Jets rout Lions

Ripon Bulletin - - Sports -

DETROIT (AP) — Sam Darnold rolled right and made a rookie move, lob­bing a foot­ball across the field that was picked off and re­turned for a touch­down.

It might’ve been his only mis­take all night. Darnold made a stel­lar de­but af­ter throw­ing a pick-6 on his first NFL snap, and the New York Jets in­ter­cepted five passes and also scored on spe­cial teams in a 48-17 rout over the Detroit Lions on Mon­day night.

The 21-year-old Darnold be­came the youngest quar­ter­back to start a sea­son opener since the 1970 AFLNFL merger, and looked his age on the first play.

“Lick­ing my chops a lit­tle bit too much, I think, on that play,” he said

Quan­dre Diggs in­ter­cepted his ill-ad­vised pass and re­turned it 37 yards for a touch­down 20 sec­onds into the game.

“On that in­ter­cep­tion, I was pretty ner­vous,” Darnold said. “Af­ter that, I put it be­hind me.”

The for­mer USC star, drafted No. 3 over­all, shook off the nerves and fin­ished 16 of 21 for 198 yards and two touch­downs . He is the first quar­ter­back to win his first start by 31 or more points since Tom Brady in 2001, per ESPN Stats & Info.

“He didn’t flinch,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “He didn’t even blink.”

Darnold helped the Jets set a fran­chise record for points on the road, sur­pass­ing the 47 they scored in 1967 against the Bos­ton Pa­tri­ots. He also out­played 30-year-old Matthew Stafford. Stafford threw four in­ter­cep­tions — one shy of his ca­reer high — and left the game briefly in the third quar­ter af­ter be­ing hit from the front and back by the swarm­ing, hard-hitting Jets.

“We wanted to make sure we came out and made a state­ment in this game,” New York line­backer Dar­ron Lee said.

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. He was mer­ci­fully taken out mid­way through the fourth quar­ter and re­placed by Matt Cas­sel with Detroit down 31.

“Story of the game’s turnovers, you know?” he asked. “We had too many of them, I had too many of them.”

The Jets dom­i­nated in all phases.

They scored 31 straight in the third quar­ter to pull away, send­ing Detroit’s fans for the ex­its and set­ting off a jolly green party in the Mo­tor City. It was the high­est-scor­ing third quar­ter in team history and trailed only the 34-point sec­ond quar­ter the Brett Favre-led team scored in 2008 against Ari­zona.

New York scored on the ground and through the air, on de­fense and on a punt re­turn by for­mer Lion An­dre Roberts. The Jets could’ve piled on even more in the fi­nal min­utes but turned the ball over on downs af­ter kneel­ing to take time off the clock. Darnold flipped the ball to a ref­eree af­ter the fi­nal kneel down, and the of­fi­cial gave it right back be­fore shak­ing the rookie’s hand.

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