New York Jets Sam Darnold is the best quarterback in the AFC East

Sam Darnold, New York Jets. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Sam Darnold, New York Jets. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New York Jets
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills. Sam Darnold, New York Jets (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Sam Darnold of the New York Jets was the best QB in the AFC East in 2019. With Tom Brady gone, Darnold’s main competition is Josh Allen, who hasn’t been as good.

There’s a narrative held around the Buffalo Bills community that because he went to the playoffs, Josh Allen is the superior quarterback to Gang Green’s Sam Darnold. His supporters believe Allen is the best quarterback in the AFC East. New York Jets fans counter what Allen is best at, is hiding behind his defense.

The above narrative is incredibly false on so many levels. Predicting that Allen will have a better career than Darnold when it’s all said and done is no crime. Both Darnold and Allen have cases for which one will finish out on top. However, there’s evidence that one has certainly been better than the other so far.

Stats don’t lie

To begin with, Darnold leads Allen in major statistical passing categories. Even while playing in one more game than Darnold, Allen has 5,163 passing yards compared to Darnold’s superior 5,889 yards. Darnold has also thrown for more touchdowns, 36 compared to Allen’s 30.

To give the devil his due, Allen has been impressive in the rushing game. He’s run for 1,141 yards so far in his career, with 17 rushing touchdowns. Averaging 5.8 yards-per-carry, his ability to make plays with his feet is envied by many. It comes at a high price, however.

Josh Allen’s accuracy in his rookie season was horrendous. His 52.8 completion percentage was embarrassing. Darnold had him by 4.9 points in that department, at 57.7 percent. In their respective second seasons, Allen improved to a 58.8 completion percentage, which is statistically poor for a non-rookie quarterback. Darnold, on the other hand, improved to a solid 61.9 percent for the New York Jets.

Darnold had better numbers despite one of his outings (interestingly against Josh Allen’s Bills), where he was playing with mono. The former USC signal-caller outplayed his counterpart even though he was very sick. Allen’s line did a great job protecting him that day. They only gave up one sack. He was abysmal, however, giving the ball away four times.

Darnold, for his part, had a higher completion percentage, matched Josh Allen’s touchdown pass, put on a show with a beautiful two-point conversion pass, and never turned the ball over. His performance is even more remarkable considering he was sacked four times.