But considering his performance in terms of rookie first-game efficiency, Darnold (116.8) fit right in between two Hall of Fame Jets rivals, the Dolphins' Dan Marino (108.7) and the Bills' Jim Kelly (119.8).
The 21-year-old rookie was unruffled by the early setback and completed 16 of 21 passes for 198 yards. "We knew his signals, we knew everything". "At the same time, I'm confident in myself that I can go out there every day and do that". All three phases being successful, scoring on all three phases. (Those are) a couple of pretty good defenses. "It's a team going up (to Detroit), so I don't worry about the confidence of the quarterback; I worry about the confidence of the team". On Lee's first interception, he sat, waited and broke on the ball when Stafford threw it, jumping in front of Theo Riddick for a pick-six of his own.
Give Darnold credit, however, because he calmed down after a tough start. "Obviously we have to coach this a lot better than what we did tonight".
NY scored 31 unanswered points in the final 9:36 of the third quarter after the Lions had tied it at 17. They scored touchdowns on an interception return and a punt return in a 31-point third quarter. But his first throw looked ill-advised from the moment it left his hand, floating toward the left sideline, where Diggs picked it off. He not only showed he could play well in prime time on the road, he also showed he could handle adversity. Patrica became the first National Football League head coach since 2008 to lose his debut by 31 or more points.
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. There weren't many Detroit fans left. Darnold is going to win games, and he's going to headline the highlight reel, and the Jets just might be close in record to the Lions by season's end anyway. That streak is now over. Rookie Kerryon Johnson had only five carries, and Detroit ran for just 39 yards. It was enough of an overhaul that Ameer Abdullah was inactive for the opener. Not a good sign.
"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. "I think we all know that and we're all secure and comfortable with that".
It can only get better from here, right?
Then the game started, and for about 10 seconds - as long as it took Sam Darnold's arm punt to be returned for a pick-six on the Jets' first play - the Lions were the best team in the building.
Do I expect the Lions to beat the 49ers, 42-0, on Sunday?