Sam Darnold has the unlucky distinction of being the first quarterback to lose to the Cleveland Browns in over 600 days. The New York Jets rookie shot out to a 14-0 lead over the Browns on Thursday night, but couldn’t keep up the offensive production as the Jets eventually fell 21-17.
Darnold had a chance to pull off the win, but threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter that basically sealed the deal. After the game, he shouldered the blame.
“From my point of view, I just have to play better, simple as that,” Darnold said, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “It’s not acceptable, the way I played. I know that, and I have to take it like a man. I feel like I’m responsible for some of the stagnant offense we had. I just have to play better, that’s it.”
Darnold has regressed since an impressive debut against the Detroit Lions in Week 1, but perhaps that was to be expected for a rookie quarterback. Very few players in similar situations are able to make an immediate impact their first year in the NFL.
“I felt really comfortable throughout the whole game,” Darnold said. “I just made stupid mistakes in the fourth quarter and missed opportunities throughout the whole game.”
Jets head coach Todd Bowles wasn’t quite so pessimistic, telling the media on Friday that it was a good learning experience for his young quarterback.
“I thought he competed his butt off yesterday,” Bowles said, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “Yesterday was one of his better games from a mental standpoint, toughness standpoint, and grit standpoint. … I thought he grew a lot last night.”
The Jets will be in tough against the vaunted Jacksonville Jaguars defense in Week 4.