Darnold threw an interception on his very first National Football League play, and Detroit's Quandre Diggs returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to give the Lions an early lead over the New York Jets on Monday night.
Lee then mentioned how dedicated Darnold is, and how hard he works, and how "Uncle Josh", i.e. 39-year-old Josh McCown, keeps the rookie steady... but perhaps what matters most is how much this young quarterback, barely of legal drinking age, a few weeks removed from taking third-team reps in training camp, has the belief of the rest of the locker room. NY capped the quarter when Isaiah Crowell scored on a 62-yard run with 54 seconds left, making the score 48-17. Lee finished with a pair of interceptions, including one he returned for a 36-yard touchdown.
Darnold is going to have plenty of great plays for the New York Jets, and plenty of mistakes too.
In the game, they scored three touchdowns of over 40 yards, and Roberts' 78-yard punt return was the pick of the bunch.
After edging into a 17-10 half-time lead, the Jets cut loose in the third quarter, piling on 31 points to surge into a 48-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Short bursts: It took 20 seconds at the start of the game to make it look like there would be one of those dream scenarios for Patricia's first game.
The Lions actually tied the game 17-17 on the first drive of the third quarter. He completed 11 of 14 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown over the remainder of the first half. But on "Monday Night Football", his NFL career started in the worst way possible. He tried to hit Bilal Powell running into space to his left, but Diggs was waiting and pounced on the pass.
The Jets' other starting rookie is from Ajax, Ont. - defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd, from a small NCAA Division II university in Kansas, Fort Hays State who burst onto the NFL's pre-draft radar last January with dominating performances at Senior Bowl practices. Their only first down came from a Jets penalty. Trumaine Johnson, Morris Claiborne and Jamal Adams also picked off passes in a big opener for the Jets' "New Jack City" secondary. They could not have been actual Jets players. He threw his first touchdown pass with 1:51 left in the first quarter. Matt Patricia's Lions had a two-deep coverage on the play, which should have prevented against any deep throws. His throw toward Diggs was buried as a "highlight", replaced by the laser 41-yard shot to speed receiver Robby Anderson. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that's some really poor defense.
Then they piled it on in the second half.