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Sam Darnold Wins New York Jets Debut In Tom Brady Fashion

Jets coach Todd Bowles couldnt have written a better script for rookie Sam Darnold ‘s NFL debut. 

It started miserably and ended magnificently. 

NFL on Twitter

On the first play of the game… Quandre Diggs PICK-6! #NYJvsDET #OnePride : ESPN https://t.co/VMaSDvdZXn

After throwing a pick-six on his first NFL pass, the gunslinger from USC settled down and produced an opening performance worthy of a standing O. 

“On the sidelines, they told me that Brett Favre’s first pass was a pick,” Darnold said after the game. “So I tried to do the best I could.”

For a franchise that has been marred in quarterback mediocrity since Broadway Joe Namath was guaranteeing chips in the late ’60s, it must be refreshing to see their No. 1 pick exhibit the poise of a five-year veteran who’s not only uplifting to the team but to the legion of Jets fans. Gang Green didnt screw up on Draft day. 

Over the past seven years, The franchise has been synonymous with Mark Sanchez and the butt fumble. Every Thanksgiving, fans get reminded of just how average and unfathomably comical their franchise has been since 2012.  All that changed in one game on Monday night with the arrival of a guy confident enough and talented enough to immediately change the fortunes of the franchise. 

Through it all, “he didn’t flinch.”

Darryl Slater on Twitter

Jets’ Todd Bowles raves about Sam Darnold’s debut at Lions: ‘He didn’t flinch’ https://t.co/CcH2K8gpGx

Last season, it was Houston rookie QB Deshaun Watson who exploded on the NFL scene, elevating the Texans from decent to devastating. After the interception, which Bowles said he was glad Darnold got out of the way, the world was introduced to the NFLs newest quarterback sensation. 

By the time the credits rolled on the game, Darnold had become the first NFL quarterback to win his first career start by 31 points since Tom Brady in 2001. The 48 points they put up was the most the Jets have scored in a game since 2012 against the Buffalo Bills. 

Once Darnold got adjusted to the speed of a regular season pro game, it was off to the races. He started throwing darts around the field, showing off his accuracy, his rifle, and play-making abilities. 

New York Jets on Twitter

Career TD pass No. 1 #NYJvsDET https://t.co/SiOW7qG1V4

The rookie showed great instinct, a veterans poise, crazy pocket mobility and awareness on this third-down conversion. 

Jesse Finver on Twitter

Best play of the day so far for Darnold. Avoids pressure up the middle, steps up and out of the pocket and delivers to Enunwa (who may not have caught it). #Jets https://t.co/URH95Om7bx

When the night was done, Darnold was 14-19 for 175 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick. More importantly, the Jets won the game 48-17. As he paced the sidelines with the game winding down, a contingent of Jets fans led by Fireman Ed gathered behind the Jets bench and officially commemorated Arnold’s shining debut with a classic chant of J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!!! 

Looking underwhelmed, totally comfortable with being the new King of New York and flashing a multi-million dollar smile, Darnold pointed at the fans with  a look that said, We’re just getting started. 

Who knows how good Darnold will be? A fast start in the NFL could turn into a slow demise pretty quickly for any rookie QB. Just ask RGIII or Andrew Luck.  But in true New York fashion — in the meantime — the hyperbole will be rampant this week. 

Respected football minds are already singing Darnold’s praises and predicting immortality for the youngest quarterback to ever make a start in a season-opener in NFL history. 

First Things First on Twitter

Sam Darnold, I believe, is going to be one of the All-Time Greats that we’ve ever seen play the game.” – @criscarter80

I say, dont count your Gucci bags until you find out if they are authentic and made in Italy or Made in China, but its too late. Jets fans have been longing for a franchise jump starter.  Now they seem to have it. 

The Sam Darnold Era has officially begun. 

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