With Trevor Lawrence out of the picture, Sam Darnold continues to make his case for the Jets keeping him as their quarterback in 2021.
Darnold played a clean, if not spectacular, game in the 23-16 win over the Browns on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Darnold did not turn the ball over for the third consecutive game. That is the longest stretch in Darnold’s career without a turnover.
“In terms of not turning the ball over and playing consistent that way, I thought I played well,” Darnold said. “Obviously, I thought there were some decisions, maybe not taking some of the throws that I could’ve made. Looking at the tape though, I think there are going to be some decisions that I’m going to want back or maybe throw to my first read and not getting off of it. There’s some stuff like that, but overall, I’m happy about not turning the ball over and scoring when we had to.”
Darnold went 16 of 32 passing for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the ball seven times for 20 yards, trucking Browns linebacker Malcolm Smith on one play.
The 23-year-old has had to deal with speculation about the Jets landing the No. 1 pick and Lawrence, the Clemson star, all season. Now, though, the Jets are locked in at the No. 2 pick and Lawrence appears to be on his way to the Jaguars, who secured the No. 1 pick with their loss Sunday and the Jets’ win.
“It is what it is,” Darnold said. “With the season going the way it has there’s going to be that talk about the number one pick or anything you can imagine, so for me I’ve just been doing a good job of tuning it out and just going to work every week, and really that goes for our whole squad. I feel like all the guys in the locker room and really put their heads down and went to work every single week so far and, again, we’re just looking to finish it out against a good Pats team.”
TE Chris Herndon had four catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. It was his most catches since Week 1 in Buffalo when he had six. The Jets needed production from Herndon with fellow tight end Ryan Griffin on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
“I just feel like I locked in today, especially with Ryan Griffin unfortunately not being here,” Herndon said. “I knew somebody would have to step up and play an extra role. I feel like I did that today and did that at a high level for my team.”
RB Frank Gore has 16,000 career rushing yards after gaining 48 on Sunday. He is the third player in NFL history to hit that mark, joining Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton. Gore left the game in the second half with a chest injury. … RG Josh Andrews left the game with a groin injury. … The Jets finished 1-7 at home this season.
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