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Jets 24 Cowboys 22: Into the Win Column

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Jets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets defeated the Cowboys 24-22 yesterday at MetLife Stadium to register their first win of 2019.

Given how painful the first four weeks of the season were, I am going to change the format of the recap this week. There were a handful of less than stellar performances by the Jets, but we have had plenty of time to dwell on the team’s 2019 disappointments. For this recap we will only discuss the heroes of the game, none of the negative.

The Heroes

Sam Darnold: Darnold’s return clearly gave this team a jolt of life. His line of 23 for 32 for 338 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception is a pretty accurate indication of how effectively he played. The Jets were built to be a quarterback-driven team, and they were driven by the quarterback on Sunday.

Darnold expertly moved within the pocket when his protection was less than ideal and hit difficult tough window passes with regularity.

The most spectacular play was a 92 yard touchdown to Robby Anderson. I was at the game and had a good view of the play. The Cowboys loaded the box and left man coverage across the board. After coming home I watched the TV broadcast of the play. Piecing everything together, I’m 90% sure Darnold audibled into the play, which was the perfect call for the defense Dallas was running. He then looked off a safety, stepped up to evade pressure, and delivered a perfect deep ball to Robby Anderson. You shouldn’t be able to do that at 22.

Darnold made a few mistakes in the second half. That’s to be expected from a young quarterback. There surely will be some less spectacular performances at points later this season. When they come, keep this game in the back of your head to remember how much potential this quarterback has and how special the future can be if the Jets surround him with the right pieces.

Robby Anderson: Robby isn’t always on, but he can carry the passing game when he is. He went for 125 yards on 5 receptions in this game, including that 92 yard touchdown where he ran a great route to shake the coverage and tracked the ball very well.

Jamison Crowder: This is where I envision Crowder. He shouldn’t be the high volume short outlet of Week 1. He shouldn’t be the afterthought of Weeks 2 through 5. He should work the middle of the field and be put in a position to make plays.

Ryan Griffin: How much was the offense rolling in the first half? Ryan Griffin was chipping in with 3 catches, including a touchdown. This will likely be the high point of Griffin’s Jets career so let’s take a moment to tip our caps.

Demaryius Thomas: Darnold did a good job spreading the ball around, and Thomas was one of three Jets receivers with over 60 yards.

Jamal Adams: Adams was credited with 9 tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss, but his biggest play was his well-timed blitz on Dallas’ game-tying two point conversion attempt. He forced an early and inaccurate throw by Dak Prescott that sealed the win for the Jets. You want impact from Adams. He delivered on Sunday.

Marcus Maye: I thought he played a really steady game at the back of the defense.

Quinnen Williams: Speaking of impact plays, the rookie made the biggest play of his young career with a tackle to stop a Dallas fourth down play in the red zone. Anderson’s touchdown came immediately after. You could argue Quinnen’s tackle was part of a 14 point swing.

Kyle Phillips: He seemed constantly disruptive to me.

Folorunso Fatukasi: He did too.

Sam Ficken: He hit a pretty important and pressure-filled kick to put the Jets up by 8 late in the fourth quarter.