Darnold, Jets score 31 unanswered points in 48-17 rout of Lions

Darnold, Jets score 31 unanswered points in 48-17 rout of Lions

Darnold, the youngest quarterback starter since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, overcame a pick-6 (an interception returned for a touchdown) on his first pass attempt when he elected to roll to his right and throw across the field on his first snap. It all was very Jets-like. But the Jets struck gold in the preseason by balancing the ground game with the spry pocket maneuvering of Darnold and now-departed backup Teddy Bridgewater.

The rookie quarterback steadied himself quickly.

Matt Patricia has appeared to push the Detroit Lions more than they ever were under Jim Caldwell.

Perhaps most distressing, the Jets said they had a read on Stafford's signals. Things are not supposed to go this well for the Jets.

The No. 3 overall pick described the challenges in front of him this season.

"We were calling out their plays as he was getting up to the line", linebacker Darron Lee said of quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was intercepted four times in the Detroit Lions' 48-17 loss at Ford Field. Lions defensive back Quandre Diggs made the easy interception and raced to the opposite end zone. He didn't wilt. He barely seemed to notice, in fact. He had a very good first half after that, including a great pass on his first career touchdown to Robby Anderson. And he had plenty of help.

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The New York Jets intercepted five passes in a game for the first time in 19 years, and they believe it's because they knew what was coming.

NY scored on the ground and through the air, on defense and on a punt return by former Lion Andre Roberts. 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.

Late in the game, just before Cassel threw an interception, hundreds of NY fans chanted: "J-E-T-S, JETS!"

It's also the debut of new Lions head coach Matt Patricia, the long-time defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick on the New England Patriots. It was a rough night for Stafford, who limped around after hurting his left knee and later exited the game temporarily after a jarring hit to his midsection. This was a night for optimism for a franchise that far too often has had far too little of it.

What the New York Jets displayed on defense and special teams may have been even more encouraging for Darnold and his teammates.

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