That was a heck of a way to start the season.
The Jets are 1-0 in 2018 after embarrassing the Detroit Lions tonight at Ford Field. After the season started in the worst fashion imaginable with Sam Darnold throwing a pick six on his first NFL pass, Gang Green took control of the game.
What went right? Let’s talk about it below.
Darron Lee: Many, including me, have called 2018 a make or break year for Lee. This was a big first step in the “make” direction. In truth, I thought Lee played a pretty lousy first half. The only times I noticed him were once when he got washed out of a play and another time when he whiffed on a tackle.
In the second half, Lee looked like the type of impact guy you’d expect a first round pick to be. He recorded a pair of interceptions. The first one kind of fell into his lap, but it just seemed to ignite him. It preceded a second pick where he read Matthew Stafford’s eyes and did a great job going to get the ball. From that point forward, he was all over the field making plays and came close to nabbing a third pick. In addition to his picks, he tied for the team high with 7 tackles.
Time will tell whether this game was a turning point for the 2016 first rounder. For tonight at least he finally showed signs of developing into the guy the Jets have been dreaming about for three years.
Jamal Adams: Adams is another player the Jets need to make a big leap. So far, so good in 2018. Jamal was constantly in the middle of plays. He had a couple of run stops. He made a big hit that broke up a potential touchdown catch. He set up a Trumaine Johnson interception with another hit, and he finally got the first pick of his career in the fourth quarter. What we saw tonight was an impact safety.
Sam Darnold: I can’t imagine it’s easy making your first NFL start as a 21 year old on the road on national television. The task probably seems more daunting for a youngster who throws an ugly pick six on his first attempt. Darnold showed a lot of composure after that, bouncing back to play a solid game. He made a lot of good reads and accurate if unsexy throws. After not showing up the deep ball in the preseason, he hit Robby Anderson on a 41 yarder for his first career touchdown pass. I thought his most impressive drive came in the third quarter after the Lions tied the game at 17. The game felt like it might have been shifting away from the Jets, but Darnold put together a touchdown drive, hitting all 3 of his passes to go with an interference penalty. The Jets scored to take the lead, and a deluge followed.
Robby Anderson: Robby did what Robby always does. He got open deep and did a great job tracking a long pass. Darnold underthrew it a bit, but Anderson still made the play.
Quincy Enunwa: The Jets missed Enunwa quite a bit last season. If you forgot why, tonight’s game was a nice reminder. He led the Jets with 6 catches for 63 yards, which included a 21 yard touchdown on the aforementioned third quarter drive that gave the Jets the lead.
Isaiah Crowell: Crowell’s Jets debut resulted in a 100 yard game. It was 102 on 10 carries to be exact, including a 62 yard cherry on top touchdown run in the second half. That was his second touchdown on the night. I love the way he finishes his runs. I forsee him as a closer in the fourth quarter when the Jets have the lead and are trying to run out the clock.
Morris Claiborne: Claiborne locked down his assignments well all night and recorded an interception.
Buster Skrine: Skrine also had a very solid game in coverage.
Henry Anderson: Anderson is supposed to be a run stopper, but he delivered a couple of big hits on Matthew Stafford, one of which resulted in Lee’s first interception.
Andre Roberts: Just as we all (none of us) expected, Jets special teams were stellar. Roberts was the shining star. A 45 yard punt return average will do. That includes a 78 yard touchdown.
Trumaine Johnson: The big free agent acquisition had a rough debut. He was beaten for a couple of big passing plays. He had a penalty. And even though he had an interception, he fumbled it away on a return after taking a big hit that briefly forced him to leave the game. In a way it’s encouraging to see the Jets defense playing so well even with Johnson struggling since the corner is probably going to play better in subsequent weeks. That raises the ceiling of the unit.
Kelvin Beachum: The left tackle appeared to be responsible for a sack and took a penalty.
It’s tough to start the season better than this. Enjoy a victory week.