Sam Darnold’s return to action sparked the New York Jets into life as the franchise secured their first win of the 2019 campaign by defeating the Dallas Cowboys. Darnold was ruled out for three matches after suffering from mononucleosis, leaving Luke Falk to start in his place.
It resulted in the Jets’ 0-4 start to the campaign, but after a month on the sidelines, including having the bye week to heal, Darnold returned to the quarterback spot against Dallas. The 22-year-old was on point throughout the contest to cut open the Cowboys’ defense, throwing for 338 yards and two touchdowns.
His strike downfield to Robby Anderson showed what the Jets were missing in his absence, connecting with his wideout for a 92-yard score. Darnold’s performance allowed confidence to flow into the rest of the team, holding firm amid pressure from Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to close out the 24-22 win at MetLife Stadium. New York now have the opportunity to build on their success and metrics show that they have the easiest schedule remaining out of all 32 NFL teams.
He's baaaaaack! ✈️
— NFL (@NFL) October 14, 2019
Their first challenge against the New England Patriots will prove their mettle, although Tom Brady’s offense has not been firing on all cylinders in the opening weeks of the season. Darnold and Le’Veon Bell will give hope to the fanbase that has been starved of success and perhaps make punters in New Jersey delve into one of the online sportsbooks available to back their team to recover from their 0-4 start to make a playoff push.
It would be an incredible feat, but there is enough talent on the roster to make the charge, especially given that there are two games to play against the Miami Dolphins, who appear to be on a run towards a 0-16 season. New York still have work ahead of them to attain consistency on offense, but they’ve certainly done enough to capture the attention of the NFL and TV audiences. Some of the throws made by Darnold were exceptional, and that ability to maneuver the ball with precision as well as boasting the quality running from Bell should make them an intriguing offense.
Head coach Adam Gase earned plaudits for his offensive displays when working with the Denver Broncos and the Chicago Bears. He went off the boil in his three seasons with the Miami Dolphins, but now he has a point to prove that he remains one of the best offensive minds in the league.
Tight end Chris Herndon will help boost their production as he returns from suspension. Herndon had an excellent rookie campaign for the Jets, recording 39 receptions for 502 yards and four touchdowns. Jamison Crowder proved that he can become a reliable target in the slot, while Anderson on the outside has the speed to burn past any cornerback.
Jamison Crowder proved that he can become a reliable target in the slot, while Anderson on the outside has the speed to burn past any cornerback.
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) December 23, 2018
It’s going to be an interesting few months for the Jets to perhaps prove there’s life burgeoning in the franchise once again. Darnold’s spark could ignite something special come the end of the season.