Darnold brushes off interception to lead Jets thumping of Lions
DETROIT—Sam Darnold threw two touchdown passes in his NFL debut, and the New York Jets scored 31 unanswered points in the third quarter to ruin Matt Patricia's head-coaching debut and thump the host Detroit Lions 48-17 on Monday night.
Darnold, the youngest quarterback starter since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, overcame a pick-6 on his first pass attempt. The 21-year-old rookie completed 16 of 21 passes for 198 yards. Jets running back Isaiah Crowell gained 102 yards on 10 carries and scored twice.
New York's defense made five interceptions, including two by Darron Lee, one of which he returned for a score. Andre Roberts contributed a 78-yard punt return for another touchdown, and Quincy Enunwa caught six passes for 63 yards, including the go-ahead score.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford was intercepted four times. He went 27-for-46 for 286 yards and one touchdown. Kenny Golladay racked up 114 yards on seven receptions, and Golden Tate caught seven passes for 79 yards and a TD.
Tate's 24-yard catch-and-run over the middle tied the score at 17-all early in the second half. The Jets then took control.
Darnold hooked up with Enunwa on a 21-yard score.
Stafford was then intercepted for the third time as Lee stepped in front of running back Theo Riddick and raced untouched on a 36-yard score.
Roberts' 78-yard return gave New York a three-touchdown advantage.
Lee's second interception led to Jason Myers' 32-yard field goal to make it 41-17. Crowell's 62-yard burst into the end zone capped off the Jets' third-quarter explosion.
New York led 17-10 at halftime.
Darnold made the ill-advised decision to roll to his right and throw across the field on his first snap. Cornerback Quandre Diggs jumped in front of running back Bilal Powell and raced 37 yards along the right side to give Detroit the lead in the opening minute.
Unruffled, Darnold led the Jets on their first scoring drive later in the quarter, with Crowell producing a 6-yard TD run.
Myers' 35-yard field goal to open the second quarter gave New York a 10-7 advantage.
The first touchdown pass of Darnold's career came with 1:51 left in the half on a 41-yard heave to Robby Anderson.
Patricia was in his first game as Detroit's head coach after six years as the New England Patriots' defensive coordinator.