Or as giddy as Bowles gets. And the Jets turned their night of high hopes and great expectations into honest-to-goodness positive results, sprinting to a 48-17 triumph over the Detroit Lions before a "Monday Night Football" television audience. But the Jets struck gold in the preseason by balancing the ground game with the spry pocket maneuvering of Darnold and now-departed backup Teddy Bridgewater.
Benoit also notes the Lions face a New York Jets team featuring a highly-touted quarterback, Sam Darnold, who is still only a rookie. He was poised, efficient and made enough throws to make believers out of even the biggest Jets skeptics.
The former USC star, drafted No. 3 overall, shook off the nerves and finished 16 of 21 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. "It seemed like we were in his head as a defense". The Jets intercepted Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford four times. Did ANYONE even dream of this happening?
"We wanted to make sure we came out and made a statement in this game", NY linebacker Darron Lee said. It was the Jets' first defensive touchdown since 2013.
Andre Roberts had a tremendous game returning punts. He was mercifully taken out midway through the fourth quarter and replaced by Matt Cassel with Detroit down 31. They only led 17-10 at halftime.
NY scored 31 unanswered points in the final 9:36 of the third quarter after the Lions had tied it at 17.
Things could not have gone much worse for Sam Darnold, the prized rookie quarterback of the New York Jets, on his first National Football League play.
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But the Jets answered in resounding fashion.
Darnold, the youngest quarterback starter since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, overcame a pick-6 on his first pass attempt. It was the first of two interceptions by Lee.
On the ensuing possession, Stafford threw his third of four picks to Lee, who ran 36 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown to give the Jets a two-touchdown lead. Jameis Winston had his first pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown in 2015.
After the Jets kicked a field goal, running back Isaiah Crowell, who had 10 carries for 102 yards in his Jets debut, broke off a 62-yard touchdown run that gave NY a 31-point lead. For the record though, the Lions did end up winning the toss.
Darnold's start to this game was pretty much the worst-case scenario. He completed 11 of 14 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown over the remainder of the first half.
When Darnold ran around and threw late across the field into the anticipating arms of Lions defensive back Quandre Diggs and saw it turn into a pick six in a blink, the scorching reactions came just as fast.