NY Jets' Sam Darnold mic'd up: 'I'm seeing ghosts' during nightmare first half vs. Patriots
EAST RUTHERFORD -- Jets quarterback Sam Darnold spent most of the first half of Monday night's game against the Patriots running for his safety. Literally.
The Jets' offensive line is a mess, incapable of stopping even the most obvious of blitzes. And after getting pressured on just about every one of his drop-backs, it was obvious that the 22-year-old was rattled. And late in the second quarter, with his team down 24-0, Darnold admitted it.
"I'm seeing ghosts," Darnold seemed to say to himself, and the rest of the world because he was wearing a microphone for ESPN's broadcast.
The game could not have started any worse for Darnold and the Jets, who entered Monday with hopes of making things difficult for the defending Super Bowl champs.
But it has been particularly brutal for Darnold.
His first pass of the game was intercepted by Devin McCourty, leading to a Patriots field goal. Later in the first quarter, Darnold was strip-sacked, a fumble that was recovered by the Patriots. And then, with the Jets down 24-0 in the second quarter, Darnold threw the ball in the air to no one, for an easy Patriots interception.
Darnold walked into the locker room with three turnovers, no touchdowns and only six of 13 passes completed for 34 yards. And on the first drive of the second half, Darnold threw another interception. It's the worst 35 minutes of football he's played in his NFL career, which is still only 16 starts old.
He's not fully to blame. The common thread behind all the interceptions? Darnold was trying to avoid a very large man from crushing him.
The offensive line didn't do its quarterback any favors. Kelvin Beachum's ankle injury and Kelechi Osemele's strange injury dispute with the team meant that the team was starting two offensive linemen who began the season as backups. And they didn't look ready to play the Patriots.
They weren't alone.
The defense looked horrible from the get-go, giving up scores on its first four drives and allowing the Patriots to convert in every meaningful situation.
Some of that responsibility is on the players themselves, and much of is on coach Adam Gase. He did not have his team ready to play.
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But in the end, face of the Jets game was Darnold. He looked completely rattled late in the first half. And then he admitted it to himself and the rest of the world.
Andy Vasquez is the Jets beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Jets analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.Email: [email protected] Twitter: @andy_vasquez
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