National Football League rookie Darnold guides Jets past Lions

Jets-Lions preview Bowles’ progression will also prove to be a focus of this season

Jets-Lions preview Bowles’ progression will also prove to be a focus of this season

In the second half of New York's game against the Lions, Darron Lee intercepted Matthew Stafford's pass and took it 36 yards for a touchdown.

I'm going to go with NO here and I'm not going to overthink it.

The former USC star shook off the rough start by completing 16 of 21 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns. His next pick came on a ball that he took out of mid-air, pretty much sealing the deal for the Jets.

"I knew at a very young age the strategic part of the game was something that I just loved", Patricia said when he was hired in February.

Drafted in the second round of the same year, Smith came out of West Virginia looking to do exactly what Darnold is attempting now - change the quarterback narrative for the team.

For Lee, the often-criticized Jets' first-round pick in 2016 out of Ohio State, it marked the first two interceptions of his National Football League career. They've made it to the playoffs three times in their last seven years, going one-and-done each time, and even Barry Sanders admits "it'll be tough" for them to keep up with the division in 2018. Andre Roberts, who had already delivered one big return in the first quarter, tip-toed the sideline for a 78-yard punt return to the house.

Perhaps most distressing, the Jets said they had a read on Stafford's signals. But even when Lee and other members of the starting defense went up to Darnold after that play and told him he was going to be fine, that they had his back, they nearly felt like it didn't need to be said-they didn't get the sense that he needed that reassurance. By the top of the second quarter, he'd more than erased the deficit he'd created in the game's first 20 seconds. The Jets then took control. Stafford was crushed by two defenders as he readied to throw a pass. "Hope I never have to say that again".

That's not a good look for Patricia, who based on his affiliation with Belichick and the Patriots, is supposed to be prepared for every eventuality.

Rocking a black Lions hoody, which he had up over his head like always, Em walked out to midfield as an honorary captain with some of the Lions players. His cool and calm ways were respected and they appreciated that he cared about them off the field.

That was one of the first things Lee remembers telling Darnold-that if he won the starting job, the defense was behind him.

From the archives: It will be 50 years ago this week - September 15, 1968 - that the Lions opened the regular season at Dallas.

Sam Darnold rolled right and made a rookie move, lobbing a football across the field that was picked off and returned for a touchdown.

Lions: Visit the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

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