football

Darnold Stays Afloat While the Defense Hits the Bottom

By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com

Don’t blame this latest Jets’ loss on Sam Darnold.

There’s plenty of blame to share with their 0-4 record, and a rising huge concern (see below). For once, that major new concern isn’t head coach Adam Gase.

Instead, it is a case of hitting the bottom of the pool.

Kicker Sam Ficken and punter Brandon Mann have been the lone consistent positives throughout the early season. Ficken blasted home five field goals, and Man kept his season average in the high 40s.

Yes, Darnold had his share of share of miscues in the Jets’ 37-28 loss to Denver Thursday night at Met Life.

Yet, Darnold darned a giant green “S” on his jersey most of the evening, as he gutted out a 23-for-42 , 240-yard performance, one in which he ran for his life most of the night along with being sacked six times. He was behind a makeshift offensive due to in-game injuries.

Gase showed some creativity by turning Darnold loose on the ground, as the third-year quarterback accounted for the team’s lone offensive touchdown with a 46-yard scamper, the longest touchdown run ever by a Jets’ quarterback.

He accounted for 84 of the team’s 129 rushing yards.

There was the return of his favorite target Jamison Crowder, who caught seven balls for 104 yards.

Still, missing too many cylinders on their engine, the offense sputtered through a mediocre performance.

However, it hasn’t produced the bottom line.

“We’ve got to win games, man,” said Darnold. “I guess it’s better than getting blown out, but we’ve got to win that game.”

Put the offense aside, this loss strictly is pinned on the defense, which gave up as many gifts as a ripped-open stuffed piñata.  

The rising huge concern is the Jets’ defense.

What has been extremely alarming has been the lack of discipline in recent weeks, notably their three rough the passer penalties among their six personal fall calls against Denver.

Defensive coordinator’s Gregg Williams’ unit made Denver’s third-stringer Brett Rypien look more like his uncle Mark Rypien in his Super Bowl run most of the night.

His unit allowed 37 points to a previous winless Denver team that was in worse offensive straits than the Jets, and they didn’t record a sack and allowed just one punt.

Pierre Desir intercepted two passes, one a pick six, but he was beat on too many plays.

The Jets’ defense desperately needs a leader to replace Jamal Adams and CJ Mosely, and soon, very soon. They have lost their fire and desire. They are on the cusp of being a laughingstock.

As for Gase, he apparently will coach the rest of the season, according to sources. However, he will have to show progress moving forward, which now looms as a tall task.

The Jets now have 10 days to try and fix and solve their issues before they host Arizona at Met Life Oct. 11.

By then, they should have Breshad Perriman and Le’Veon Bell back among others in the lineup.

More importantly, they will need to find some solid ground.

“We’re working to get this thing right,” said Gase. “I’m not happy about this. I know we can play way better than this. I know we cannot beat ourselves and do the things we’re doing.

“When you look at it and there’s 11 penalties for 118 yards, we hurt ourselves. “We need to get this corrected. We need to figure out what guys are going to do things right, what guys are going to do the right things at the right time. This is not the way that we’re going to play.”

For the first four games of the season, his words ring loudly.

For the next 12 games, Gase and his team have to find a way to change the course. It’s hard to fall any deeper.

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