It looked like Monday might be one of those nights for the Jets when Sam Darnold‘s first pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
As it turned out, it was one of those nights for the Lions. The Jets scored 48 of the next 58 points and routed the Lions 48-17 to move to 1-0 on the season.
Darnold’s initial miscue was the only one he’d make on the night. He finished 16-of-21 for 198 yards and two touchdowns, including a 21-yarder to Quincy Enunwa that broke a 17-17 tie in the third quarter. The Jets would add 14 more points in under three minutes as Darron Lee scored on an interception shortly before Andre Roberts took a punt 78 yards for six more points.
That all but ended the competitive portion of the evening. The Jets’ 48 points are the most in a road game in franchise history and only four less than they scored in three September games last season. They got the ball to the lip of the end zone late in the fourth quarter, but opted to go with the victory formation rather than rubbing more salt in Detroit’s wounds.
Those points came in all phases of the game, but Darnold will be the story of the day. Neither Rome nor quarterbacks are built in a day, but bouncing back from the early turnover and executing the offense flawlessly the rest of the way is the kind of foundation any team would like to build off with a rookie. He’ll get to play in front of the home crowd against the 1-0 Dolphins next time out.
Euphoria is the order of the day for their fans, many of whom spent the fourth quarter emphatically spelling out the team’s name to the delight of the bench and the dismay of the few Lions fans left at Ford Field. The exact opposite is the case for the Lions, who looked terrible for most of the preseason and even worse in Matt Patricia’s head coaching debut.
Matthew Stafford threw four interceptions, was pressured often by a Jets defense lacking fierce edge rushers and got his usual limited help from the running game before getting pulled so Matt Cassel could handle garbage time. Matt Prater missed two field goals, LeGarrette Blount left after taking a hard hit, Ziggy Ansah hurt his shoulder and the defense appeared to give less than 100 percent on a 62-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Crowell that capped the Jets’ 31-point third quarter.
That makes for a big test for how Patricia will get his team to turn the page and come up with something better the next time out. They’ll be in Santa Clara to face the 0-1 49ers next Sunday.