By Lenn Robbins
Stars rise fast these days. Some handle it well. Some don’t.
Sam Darnold, 22, would have made the 15th start of his NFL career Monday night when Gang Green hosts the Cleveland Browns and their second-year quarterback, Baker Mistakefield, 24. It’s likely Darnold will miss more than just Monday’s game with mononucleosis.
Mayfield was the No.1 overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft. Darnell went No.3. You know ESPN is scrambling to replace all those Mayfield-Darnold comparisons.
It’s a shame that Darnold has been sacked by the kissing disease, as it’s referred to in KidsHealth.org. Because Mayfield is the kid in this tandem. Darnold is the adult.
Mayfield’s talent-laden Browns, considered the favorites to win the AFC Central, got pummeled by the Tennessee Titans, 43-13 last weekend. The ailment he’s suffering these days is a bruised ego.
Mayfield, who any minute now could declare himself the best young quarterback in the NFL, completed 25-of-38 passes for 285 yards with three interceptions, one touchdown and garnered a QB rating of 64.
Darnold wasn’t much better in his team’s season opener, a soul-sapping 17-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He completed 28-of-41 passes for a meager 175 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. His QB rating was 84.9-percent.
So, on paper, after one week, the Jets have the better quarterback.
Now, let’s put these silly analytics aside. Because really, QB rating is nonsense. If a quarterback gets his team in the end zone and wins games, the rest is window dressing.
John Elway’s QB rating? 79.9. Johnny Unitas? 78.2. End of story.
Here’s why we’re perfectly comfortable with Darnold being in New York and Baker Blabber being in Cleveland.
After the Jets blew the game against the Bills last week, this was what Darnold had to say:
“We never really got into rhythm and I put that on myself.”
After the Browns got pulverized by the Titans, this is what Baby Baker had to say.
“We don’t really give a damn what’s going on on the outside,” Mayfield said when asked how stunned the NFL world was by his team’s debacle.
Darnold said “I.” Mayfield said “We.”
Darnold has shown uncanny poise and has an understated presence. Guys like to be around him.
Mayfield has dissed former teammates (see: Duke Johnson) and coaches (see: Hugh Jackson) and opponents (see: Daniel Jones). He likes to be the light and the moth.
Mayfield can be seen on TV hocking Progressive Insurance, which in theory is fine. But it makes you wonder if some of the veterans on the Browns, that have never had a sponsorship deal, are a little irked.
Darnold hasn’t filmed a national television commercial but he did dress up as Santa Claus last Christmas and surprised kids at a New Jersey mall.
We won’t get to see Darnold-Mayfield Monday night, which is disappointing. Both seem to be remarkably gifted. Mayfield is more mobile. Darnold has an Elway-strong arm.
Here’s the shame: The QB that carries himself like a petulant child didn’t get the kid’s virus.