Sam Darnold's return to the Jets lineup got off to a fast start -- 59 yards on 3 completions on the game's opening drive -- but he threw two interceptions and was sacked twice in the fourth quarter in a 20-3 loss to AFC East rival Miami at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
"At the end of day it's football, we love our jobs and have a great group of guys," Darnold said after the game. "We just have to try and keep working, doing that and getting a win next week."
The Week 12 game was Darnold's first since he played at Kansas City on Nov. 1 when he aggravated a right-shoulder injury trying to pick up a first down. Against the Dolphins, Darnold emerged unscathed from two first-half scrambles, both of which resulted in first downs. The second scramble extended an 82-yard drive at the end of the first half, but the drive resulted in a missed 29-yard field-goal attempt by Sergio Castillo.
Playing with all three of his top receivers -- Breshad Perriman, Jamsion Crowder and rookie Denzel Mims -- Darnold was 16 of 27 for 197 yards, but with 0 TDs and those 2 INTs.
"I made two bad decisions and they ended up as two picks, and those suck," Darnold said. "But other than that I missed a couple of throws. I've got to be better. I didn't play well enough to win a ballgame today."
Head Coach Adam Gase came to the defense of his No. 1 QB, who had missed the past two games (against New England and at the Chargers) as he rehabbed the right-shoulder injury.
"Sometimes, the first game back you're trying to make something happen," Gase said. "I'm sure he's frustrated, trying to make some plays. He's trying to make something happen."
After that first drive to open the game, when Darnold sprayed the ball around and Frank Gore was able to pick up positive yardage, the Jets' offense failed to put together a consistent attack. Still, two Miami (7-4) turnovers in the second half afforded the Jets multiple opportunities to elbow their way back into the game.
The Jets came out at halftime, stopped Miami on its first possession and were on the move after Darnold hit Perriman for 27 yards to Miami's 39. But four plays later a pass intended for Crowder was picked off.
"I made a bad decision, I could have put more to the sideline," Darnold said about the interception. "I've always let the game come to me, but in the moment I want to make that play. I felt like I was doing better job taking what was there and not forcing it. But the play with Crowder out on the right, if I just put on the sideline it's good."
See Best Images from the Week 12 Matchup in MetLife Stadium
After Quinnen Williams forced a fumble with 4:16 left in the third quarter, the Jets went three and out. The Jets got a second turnover with less than a minute to play in the quarter when Jordan Jenkins forced a fumble and Neville Hewitt took it to the Dolphins' 26. But Gore was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 play at the Miami 17 to start the fourth quarter.
"We didn't take any advantage of the turnovers," Gase said. "We didn't make the plays we needed to make in the red zone. Obviously three points, that's what we get for that."
One positive for Darnold? He said that his shoulder "feels good, it came out clean."