Sam Darnold Impresses Against Broncos

Sam Darnold Impresses Against Broncos

What a difference a week makes. If you were to talk to a Jets fan a week ago, the sky would’ve been falling.

“Fire Bowles”

“We took the wrong QB”

“This o-line stinks!”

Last Sunday the New York Jets put up an impressive outing against the Denver Broncos with a 34-16 win at MetLife. While this game was led by a phenomenal rushing attack and good defense, Sam Darnold took a nice step forward and looks like a legit starter in this league.

Now before you criticize him for completing under 50% of his passes, let me say that there were several drops and a few no-calls on receivers that should’ve been ruled pass interferences. He was not perfect but he took steps in the right direction and we saw him grow from the mistakes he made in previous weeks.

Again his stat line won’t ‘Wow’ you. He went 10-22 for 198 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT. But three areas that Darnold showed significant improvement were his deep ball accuracy, footwork, and situational awareness.

The first touchdown came on a 76-yard bomb to wide receiver Robby Anderson.


A few things stick out about this play. First being the week before, Darnold missed Anderson on the same exact route. You love to see Darnold not making the same mistakes. He makes this throw in a very crowded pocket as well. He isn’t able to fully step into the throw and he still delivers and absolute dime. And lastly, this happened on 3rd down. The past few weeks, we’ve seen offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates call very conservative games for Darnold but we saw him take the training wheels off a little this game. Of course, it takes two to tango and it was nice to see Darnold take this shot on third down.

While Darnold’s second touchdown pass to Anderson wasn’t as deep as the first, it was much more impressive.



A 35-yard absolute dime. Anderson gets worked towards the sideline by Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby. Anderson used his speed to get over the top of him but him being right on the sideline meant Darnold had to deliver a perfect ball. And this ball was perfect. Anderson was hit in stride and the ball was put on his outside shoulder where Roby couldn’t get it. Also this play happened with 1:13 left in the first half. Driving down the field and making it a two score game going into the half was huge for the Jets.

It’ll be nice to see if Darnold and Anderson can continue these kind of connections on a weekly basis. Besides his touchdown against the Lions in Week 1, Anderson has been missing. It will allow Bates to be more creative and open up opportunities for the rest of the Jets receivers.

For his third touchdown pass of the afternoon, Darnold hit Terrelle Pryor on a 20-yard fade.


Broncos cornerback Isaac Yiadom got caught peeking at Darnold which allowed Pryor to blow past him. Darnold puts it on a line and on Pryor’s outside shoulder and most importantly, on time. And credit to Pryor making a nice grab for his first touchdown of the season.

The throw of the day came on a 3rd and 12 conversion to Jermaine Kearse.


Darnold had Anderson open on a delayed mop route but decided to let Anderson clear out and take the defender with him, opening up the deep out by Kearse and Darnold plants this one accurately and on-time for the first down.

Darnold’s footwork looked much better in this game. He wasn’t hopping around like his previous couple of games. He looked in rhythm and it showed on his throws. He did miss a high on a couple but that looked more to be because he dropped the ball too low on his release and the ball just sailed a little. But more importantly, he looked comfortable again. And that is a credit to him and especially his o-line.

They had a phenomenal bounce back game against a tough Broncos defensive front. They bulldozed the way for Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell, who rushed for a combined 323 yards. The success of the run game was critical in helping Darnold. He was only sacked one time and that was because of a high snap from center Spencer Long. Long had a few of those and while Darnold was able to catch them, it throws off the timing of the play and the two should work to clean up their exchange before next week.

Darnold’s situational awareness was a lot better this week too. In the first four games, he was letting the play clock get really low too often and had some delay of games. This week the communication was better between him and Bates and Darnold was even able to quick snap to catch the Broncos with 12 men on the field.

Progression is the most important thing for a rookie and we are seeing that out of Darnold. Next week I’d like to see Darnold’s completion percentage jump over 60%.

The Jets will look to put together consecutive wins and show some consistency against the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday.

Long time sports fan, first time writer. I played a little college football at American International College (You probably have never heard of it). My favorite teams consist of the Jets, Yankees, Rangers, and Knicks. While three of those teams have brought me nothing but stress, I wouldn't want it any other way.

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