The New York Jets won on Sunday, defeating the Oakland Raiders 34-3. The Jets have begun to turn their luck around due to a stout defense and the return of quarterback Sam Darnold.
The 2019 season has been full of ups and downs for the New York Jets, who were at one point 1-7 coming off a loss to lowly Miami. Things then changed, as Gang Green won their next three games by an average of 18.3 points. Their success can be traced back to the play of Sam Darnold, who’s beginning to make the sophomore jump that was expected of him by many fans and analysts alike.
Darnold has improved on his solid rookie campaign as his completion percentage, yards per game, and yards per attempt numbers have all seen a sizable bump. Additionally, his 92-yard touchdown bomb to Robby Anderson is also the longest completion in the NFL so far this season.
The 22-year old quarterback is also developing good chemistry with wide receiver Jamison Crowder, whom the Jets signed to a three-year deal this past offseason. The duo has combined for three touchdowns over the past four games. Strictly looking at yards per game, the slot specialist plays like a 1,010-yard receiver with Darnold and a 400-yard pass-catcher without him.
Darnold’s accomplishments have been even more impressive given his lack of offensive support. The Jets currently rank 30th in total rush yards and 31st in yards per rushing attempt. Free agent acquisition Le’Veon Bell has struggled in his first full season since 2017, racking up just 557 yards and three touchdowns through eleven starts.
Over the course of the past three games, Sam Darnold has accounted for nine touchdowns against just one interception. This isn’t to say that he’s playing things safe, as he continues to confidently make one risky throw after another.
Here Darnold decides to throw across his body while on the run instead of taking a first down, delivering a strike to Robby Anderson running through the center of the field. His confidence in making difficult throws is going to be extremely beneficial to the former USC star once he blossomes into the franchise quarterback many are expecting him to be.
It’s important to remember his age, as Darnold is still younger than most rookie quarterbacks like Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones. The impact that he has on winning at such a young age cannot be understated, as the Jets have a record of 4-4 with him and 0-3 without him.
The New York Jets may be making their playoff push a little too late, but fans should expect a lot more winning in the future with Sam Darnold at the helm.