It finally happened: the moment Jets fans have been waiting for all season. In the midst of another bleak season, rookie quarterback Sam Darnold showed why the New York Jets drafted him 3rd overall. He displayed some heroic qualities as he led the way in a come-from-behind 27-23 win over the Buffalo Bills. In doing so, he showed that he has what it takes to be the franchise quarterback the Jets have endlessly searched for.
The first drive of the game for the Jets offense provided a scare. Due to a miscommunication on 3rd down, Sam Darnold tried to run for a first down. He came close to picking it up, but Trent Murphy tripped him up and landed awkwardly on Darnold’s foot. In a flash, Sam came up limping and went straight to the locker room.
Josh McCown was in for the next offensive series, probably leaving many Jets fans shaking their heads. Any hope of seeing if Darnold could continue to develop appeared lost. The same foot that kept him out for the past few weeks seemed to be injured again, likely ending his season.
Yet he came back, in a big way. McCown only played one series, and Darnold played the rest of the game, showing no ill effects at all. He provided the grit the team needed in a “revenge” game they desperately wanted to win. It was his play that enabled them to accomplish that goal.
In the 3rd quarter, Darnold made a classic rookie mistake: trying to make something out of nothing. He forced a throw to tight end Christopher Herndon and got picked off by a fellow rookie, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. It cost the Jets momentum as they were deep in Buffalo territory, trying to tie the game.
Yet Darnold didn’t give in, didn’t get rattled, didn’t quit. With his signature poise, he fought valiantly to get the Jets back in the game. He showed no fear as he completed several key passes, including a perfect 37-yarder to Robby Anderson during the game-winning drive. It’s this unflappable confidence that proved Sam Darnold could lead his team to a win.
Darnold’s shining moment came on a broken play. On another 3rd down, the pocket collapsed on Sam, leaving him scrambling once again. Yet this time, his feet got him out of trouble. He avoided a sack, and after rolling back to his left, he threw a 7-yard dart to Robby Anderson for the game-tying touchdown.
It’s plays like this that show why the Jets should have faith in Sam Darnold. With rare intangibles and the uncanny ability to improvise, he is proving his mettle. He’s a quarterback we can continue to put our trust in, because he will do everything it takes to succeed. He needs to keep playing and honing his skills. If he does this, and the Jets allow him to, the franchise can become the Sam-chise.