Darnold and Adams Ride the Escalator
Safety Jamal Adams is already a star and quarterback Sam Darnold has flashed that kind of potential at times during his first 20 NFL starts. The young pair shined throughout Sunday's 34-17 drubbing over the Redskins at FedExField as the Green & White moved to 3-7 overall with their second consecutive victory.
Although Darnold did have an interception he'd like to have back, the second-year passer threw a career-high four touchdown passes. He torched the Washington defense with both his arm and his feet, buying time and leaving defenders guessing in space. Adam Gase designed a sprint-right scoring pass from Darnold to Robby Anderson and Darnold made some wonderful plays off script including his 20-yard touchdown to TE Daniel Brown in the first and his 45-yarder to TE Ryan Griffin late in the second.
Darnold put it away early in the fourth with his fourth TD, placing the ball perfectly on a 29-yard rip to Jamison Crowder.
"I think the rhythm of our entire offense, the way that we're clicking right now, we're doing really well," Darnold said. "We're doing a really good job of maintaining the rhythm of our offense that we usually have. When we played in Florida those couple weeks, we had really good first drives, but we weren't able to sustain it. I think, for us, we're doing a really good job of keeping it going."
On the other side of the ball, the 24-year-old Adams is just a wrecking ball who continues to total everything in his way. The President stormed the Nation's Capital, racking up three sacks of rookie QB Dwayne Haskins. The trifecta are the most recorded by a Jets DB ever (sacks became official in 1982) and through 10 games, he's already set the team's all-time season sack mark for DBs with six.
There were a long list of standouts Sunday including Crowder (5-75-1TD), the wideout who called Washington home for his first four pro seasons, Griffin (career-high 109 yards receiving) and CB Bless Austin (three tackles, 1 PD), but Darnold and Adams were off the charts.
See Best Images from the Matchup Against the Redskins
Four Spells Progress
For the fourth consecutive game, the Jets marched down the field and scored a touchdown on their opening possession. When Darnold hit Brown just 3:10 into the game, the 2019 Jets matched the 1972 team (games 3-6) as the only offenses in franchise history to accomplish that feat.
Darnold, who has three scoring tosses along with a keeper during the streak, had three tight ends in the game on the Brown TD. The fifth-year tight end released on a short out, but the second-year signal caller felt the pocket collapsing. Instead of make a dangerous throw, Darnold bought himself time and moved left. While Darnold bounced, Brown got behind CB Josh Norman and S Landon Collins, and the result was easy pitch-and-catch. A few days after announcing TE Chris Herndon had been placed on injured reserve, Griffin and Brown combined for six catches, 129 yards and two TDs.
"All the tight ends have been playing really well," Darnold said. "Whenever they get the opportunity to step in there and make a play, they do. They're super unselfish players. They're in there run blocking every run play and when they get their opportunity, they take advantage of it."
Defense Limits the Damage
With a 13-0 first-half lead, the Jets left the door open for the Redskins to get back in the game. Facing a second-and-17, Darnold retreated with DL Daron Payne closing in and fired in the vicinity of Ty Montgomery. But the high ball instead found the hands of linebacker Jon Bostic and his return set Washington up with its first points — a 44-yard Dustin Hopkins field goal.
Then after Vyncint Smith fumbled it away on the ensuing kickoff, the defense took the field and one-upped themselves. They stiffened up outside the 10 and Hopkins fired a 29-yard field goal off the right upright. Despite starting two possessions at the Jets' 16- and 27-yard lines, the 'Skins were limited to 6 total yards and 3 points.
The NFL's No. 2-ranked run stuffing unit, bolstered by the return of ILB Neville Hewitt (1 INT), held Washington to just 2.7 YPC and Gregg Williams' unit racked up six sacks of Haskins.
"They had a plan going in," head coach Adam Gase said of the defensive staff. "I know they felt good as far as trying to get to him. Just try to put as much pressure on him as possible, keep tight coverage and see if he can make tough throws."