Jets Completely Bury Lions With Big Punt Return and Rushing TDs

Ross Houston
September 11, 2018

Darnold threw an interception on the very first snap of his National Football League career - and it was run back for a Detroit touchdown - but New York's quarterback shouldn't sweat that too much after the Jets stormed back and routed the Lions 48-17 on Monday night. On that same snap, Darnold dropped back for his first pass and threw a pick-six.

The Jets had played an National Football League record 73 games, dating to 2013, without a defensive TD before Lee returned one of his two interceptions 36 yards for a score in the third.

Jets Completely Bury Lions With Big Punt Return and Rushing TDs

"We wanted to make sure we came out and made a statement in this game", NY linebacker Darron Lee said.

While Darnold and the offense were finding their groove, the Jets defense was dominating. NY capped the quarter when Isaiah Crowell scored on a 62-yard run with 54 seconds left, making the score 48-17. The second was a highlight reel throw to Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson for a 41-yard score that put the Jets up 17-7. He made few mistakes during the preseason, but the Jets didn't exactly open up the playbook for him.

Darnold earned the right to start in Week 1 over journeyman team favorite Josh McCown because he showed good leadership qualities and a feel for defenses beyond his years. 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. And obviously there's a constant communication with the players to say, 'Are we good on this? Darnold is going to win games, and he's going to headline the highlight reel, and the Jets just might be close in record to the Lions by season's end anyway.

The start wasn't what they were looking for, but the rest of Monday's performance has been just what the Jets were hoping to see. Trumaine Johnson, Morris Claiborne and Jamal Adams also picked off passes in a big opener for the Jets' "New Jack City" secondary. "Everybody studied." He said they were able to figure out their tendencies based on formation and signals.

Unruffled, Darnold led the Jets on their first scoring drive later in the quarter, with Crowell producing a 6-yard TD run.

Lions: DE Ezekiel Ansah, who has struggled to get and stay healthy, left the game with a shoulder after making four tackles, including a sack.

Jets: Host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

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