clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sam Darnold is breaking rookie records with his early-career efficiency

Indianapolis Colts v New York Jets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Sam Darnold has bounced back from a 3-game losing streak to lead the Jets back to .500 with a pair of impressive home wins. On the way, he’s set a few records, playing at levels of efficiency previously unforeseen from rookie quarterbacks.

  • Darnold has seven touchdown passes of 20+ yards, tied with Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger for the current NFL lead.

As far back as this data is available (to the 1994 season), the record for most 20+ yard touchdown passes by a rookie is 9, held by multiple players. Darnold only needs 3 more 20+ yard scores to set a new record.

  • The Jets have scored 34+ points in three of their first six games, becoming the 37th team to do that since 2000.

The 2018 Jets are the only team in that group led by a rookie quarterback - no rookie since the turn of the century has led his team to three 34+ point outings in his first six weeks.

  • Darnold has thrown 9 touchdown passes through the first six weeks of his career, tying him for second all-time with Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, behind only Deshaun Watson’s incredible 15.

He’s on pace for 24 touchdown passes over a 16-game season. If he can reach that number, it would place him 3rd all-time in touchdown passes for a rookie, behind only Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning.

  • With 3 wins and 9 touchdown passes, Darnold is the fourth rookie quarterback in NFL history to post 3+ victories and 8+ touchdown passes over his first six weeks, joining Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, and Deshaun Watson.
  • Darnold posted a 113.9 quarterback rating against Indianapolis, just over a month after posting a 116.8 in his NFL debut.

He now owns the two youngest performances of a 110+ quarterback rating (min. 20 passing attempts) in NFL history, at 21 years-97 days and 21 years-131 days.

  • Darnold has three starts this year with at least 2 touchdown passes and a yards per attempt rate of 9.0 or higher. Darnold is the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to hit both of those marks in the same game three times over the first six weeks of his career.

Make of a rookie quarterback’s statistical production what you may. Plenty of rookies have started out even better than Darnold and busted. Plenty have started out worse and carved out Canton-worthy careers.

However, it is very promising and encouraging to see Darnold, who is not only a rookie but also the youngest starter ever, proving capable of high-level production so early in his career. He’s rebounded from interceptions, sometimes horrid ones, to finish very efficiently in an eventual victory three times this season. He brushed off a two-game stretch of awful football in Jacksonville and Cleveland to come home for two marvelous outings.

It’s been as much of a roller coaster ride with Darnold as we expected it to be - but the height of his highs are still quite impressive.