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'Weird Week': QB Luke Falk Plays Most of Jets' Snaps on MNF

No TDs, 3 Points, but Some Production Late for 2nd-Year Signal-Caller vs. Browns


If you only heard the quote, you might've thought that Jets third-string QB Luke Falk was going to pen the 14th children's novel in the Lemony Snicket series.

"It's been a weird week," Falk told reporters following the Jets' 23-3 Monday night loss to the Browns, during which he took the Green & White offense's final 44 snaps in his NFL regular-season debut. "A week ago I was on the practice squad, and then tonight I'm standing in front of you guys after playing in a game.

"Definitely a weird series of unfortunate events for those two guys."

The two guys Falk was talking about were the Jets' first two QBs, Sam Darnold, who came down with mono, and Trevor Siemian, who started the game and played 16 snaps and three-plus series before his ankle was scarily doubled up beneath his falling body on a roughing-the-passer hit by Cleveland DE Myles Garrett.

Siemian made a brief locker room appearance wearing a walking boot on his left leg and didn't speak to the media. That left it to Falk to put as positive a spin as he could on the Jets' 262-yard night, 2-for-14 third-down performance and only one scoring drive, culminating with Sam Ficken's 46-yard second-quarter field goal in his Jets debut.

"You never want to see a guy that you spend so much time with go down like that," the second-year man out of Washington State said about Siemian, who he thought initially suffered a concussion since he didn't get a good look at the videoboards. "But when your number's called, you want to go out there and execute. For the most part I thought we did a pretty good job of that."

Actually, a few metrics back up that seemingly wild statement. In four of his last five possessions he directed the Jets on 60-, 45-, 57- and 58-yard drives. The last three came after Odell Beckham sliced the game open with his 89-yard catch-and-run from Baker Mayfield. But the Jets kept coming close. They got their only red zone drive when they reached third-and-2 at the Browns 12, but one incompletion and a 1-yard pass to Le'Veon Bell didn't get the job done.

Then in the first half of the final period, Falk hit Bell on a 17-yard pass that made it to the Cleveland 7 before the airborne Bell had the ball helmeted from his grasp for a lost fumble. Because the Jets didn't take a snap inside the 20, they weren't debited with a TD-less RZ drive there.

As for his passing numbers: 20-of-25 for 198 yards, two sacks, no TDs but no INTs and a 99.7 rating.

"It's just critical moments. That's what football comes down to. If you execute in those critical moments, this game might be different. So I think there's a lot of learning to do. I think there are some positives. It's not as bad as what the score might show. ... I think we've definitely got to be better."

Head coach Adam Gase didn't like the outcome but he also had some positive vibes about Falk, whom he coached last season in Miami.

"Once we got going, we were fine," Gase said. "I just wanted to make sure I didn't just come out and start throwing it all over the lot. I wanted him to get comfortable and get going a little bit, get in a rhythm. I thought Le'Veon did a good job of trying to put it on his back. I think we called six or seven runs in a row where he got the ball.

"Luke is very confident, so once we got out of that first series, you could just tell he was calm. It was like we were at practice."

Practice this week will be perhaps a little weird if both Darnold and Siemian are sidelined. Gase acknowledged "we might have to" add another QB to the roster "because we're down to one."

And this set of unfortunate circumstances comes during the week before the Jets head up to Foxboro, MA, to play the Patriots. But if Falk getting his first pro start against Tom Brady and the Patriots defense that has allowed three points in two games sent a shiver up his spine, he disguised it well.

"If my number's called, I'll be ready to roll," he said. "You have to make the most of the opportunities and execute no matter who we're playing. You've just got to go do your best."

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