Registrato: 07/07/18 12:54
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|Sam Darnold rolled right and made a rookie move , lobbing a football across the field that was picked off and returned for a touchdown.
It might've been his only mistake all night.
Darnold made a stellar debut after throwing a pick-6 on his first NFL snap, and the New York Jets intercepted five passes and also scored on special teams in a 48-17 rout over the Detroit Lions on Monday night.
The 21-year-old Darnold became the youngest quarterback to start a season opener since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, and looked his age on the first play.
"Licking my chops a little bit too much, I think, on that play," he said
Quandre Diggs intercepted his ill-advised pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown 20 seconds into the game.
"On that interception, I was pretty nervous," Darnold said. "After that, I put it behind me."
The former USC star, drafted No. 3 overall, shook off the nerves and finished 16 of 21 for 198 yards and two touchdowns . He is the first quarterback to win his first start by 31 or more points since Tom Brady in 2001, per ESPN Stats & Info.
"He didn't flinch," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "He didn't even blink."
Darnold helped the Jets set a franchise record for points on the road, surpassing the 47 they scored in 1967 against the Boston Patriots.
He also outplayed 30-year-old Matthew Stafford.
Stafford threw four interceptions 鈥?one shy of his career high 鈥?and left the game briefly in the third quarter after being hit from the front and back by the swarming, hard-hitting Jets.
"We wanted to make sure we came out and made a statement in this game ," New York linebacker Darron Lee said.
Stafford was 27 of 46 for 286 yards and a TD pass to Golden Tate early in the third quarter to tie it at 17. He was mercifully taken out midway through the fourth quarter and replaced by Matt Cassel with Detroit down 31.
"Story of the game's turnovers, you know?" he asked. "We had too many of them, I had too many of them."
The Jets dominated in all phases.
They scored 31 straight in the third quarter to pull away, sending Detroit's fans for the exits and setting off a jolly green party in the Motor City. It was the highest-scoring third quarter in team history and trailed only the 34-point second quarter the Brett Favre-led team scored in 2008 against Arizona.
New York scored on the ground and through the air, on defense and on a punt return by former Lion Andre Roberts. The Jets could've piled on even more in the final minutes but turned the ball over on downs after kneeling to take time off the clock. Darnold flipped the ball to a referee after the final kneel down, and the official gave it right back before shaking the rookie's hand. Darnold was still holding the ball while talking briefly with Stafford on the field.
Detroit coach Matt Patricia, meanwhile, will want to forget his debut as an NFL head coach.
"We've got to coach this a lot better than what we did," he said. "We've got to go out and execute a lot better on the field. It's a team game, and it starts with me."
New NFL head coaches dropped to 0-6 in Week 1, with Oakland's Jon Gruden the group's final hope for an opening victory in the Monday nightcap.
Late in the game, just before Cassel threw an interception, hundreds of New York fans chanted: "J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS!" A crew clad in green and white filed into seats in four sections along the New York sideline and appeared to outnumber Detroit fans who stuck around for the bitter end.
"That was awesome to be able to see them doing their thing," Darnold said.
The Jets had played an NFL record 73 games , dating to 2013, without a defensive TD before Lee returned one of his two interceptions 36 yards for a score in the third. Trumaine Johnson, Morris Claiborne and Jamal Adams also picked off passes in a strong start for the Jets self-proclaimed "New Jack City" secondary.
Darnold joined Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston (2015) and Brett Favre (1991) as quarterbacks who had their first pass intercepted and returned for a score.
Jets: CB Johnson (head injury) and CB Buster Skrine (rib) returned to play after leaving the field with injuries. Johnson was evaluated after he intercepted a pass and fumbled after taking a hard hit from Detroit receiver Kenny Golladay.
Lions: DE Ezekiel Ansah, who has struggled to get and stay healthy, left the game with a shoulder after making four tackles, including a sack. OG T.J. Lang left the game with a back injury. CB Darius Slay returned to play after leaving the field to be evaluated for a concussion.
Jets: Host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Lions: Visit the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
From the time James Bettcher was hired as defensive coordinator by Pat Shurmur, there has been speculation whether the New York Giants were switching from a four-man front to a three-man look.
After all, it's what the 39-year-old Bettcher ran with the Arizona Cardinals last season.
Bettcher dropped a hint Wednesday in his first interview since taking the job: He is not into labeling defensive schemes.
The Giants are going to use a lot of formations, including three- and four-man fronts. Sometimes, they are going to put five up front. They are going to keep offenses guessing, and they are going to attack.
"What it is about is playing relentless," Bettcher said. "The game is about playing hard. The game is about playing physical. The game is about playing smart. Those are things that our guys are going to do whether we are bringing five or six or dropping eight, whatever we are doing, whatever the field position is. The thing our fans are going to see, they are going to see a defense that is going to run around , that plays hard, plays fast and plays smarts and plays physical. That's what playing defense is about."
Bettcher will start laying the foundation for his defense Monday when players show up for organized team activities. The OTAs are a time that most coaches and coordinators begin discovering what they have, especially with a new team.
"Right now, if you asked me who we are on defense, I have no clue," Bettcher said, adding by the end of training camp he will know.
The Giants certainly will have a different look, at least based on personnel.
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was released and fellow CB Ross Cockrell was signed by Carolina as a free agent. The Giants added Alec Ogletree in a trade with the Rams and signed fellow linebacker Kareem Martin as a free agent. LB Devon Kennard signed with Detroit as a free agent, while defensive captain Jonathan Casillas, also a linebacker, remains a free agent.
The mainstays up front will be tackles Damon Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson along with end Olivier Vernon. Ogletree and Martin will be the core of the linebackers, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins and safety Landon Collins will anchor the secondary.
"This isn't going to be James Bettcher's defense," Bettcher said. "This is going to be our players' defense, this is going to be these assistant coaches' defense, this is going to be our defense."
The process of putting the defense together will be done over the next five-plus months , and a version of the final product will be rolled out in early September. Bettcher said everyone is starting with a clean slate. There are some who need that.
There was squabbling among the defensive backs last season, and 2016 first-round draft pick Eli Apple miffed some teammates with his attitude and play.
Defensive end Josh Mauro, who played for Bettcher in Arizona before signing with the Giants as a free agent, will sit out the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancers.
Bettcher called Apple a very talented player who can do everything expected of a cornerback.
"He's a guy that, I think it's a guy that has expectations for himself and that's the most important thing," Bettcher said.
In his three years as Cardinals defensive coordinator, Bettcher's unit was consistently among the NFL's best in yardage allowed and run defense. Arizona led the league in sacks (48) in 2016, and Chandler Jones had a league-high 17 last season.
"I just love football, I love watching football, I love talking about it, I love being around it," Bettcher said. "I probably tire my wife out very much when we watch football. We're home and it's in-season and it's a Saturday afternoon when we have some time and we have college football in the house and we're watching ball. So it's an exciting time."
And a time to build a defense.