- The New England Patriots defence made life miserable for Sam Darnold on Monday night, forcing four interceptions and a fumble out of the young New York Jets quarterback.
- While mic’d up on the sideline, Darnold said he was “seeing ghosts” on the field while the Patriots pressured him from all sides.
- After the game, Darnold owned up to his performance, saying that he had to improve his reads and field vision if the Jets were to succeed.
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Sam Darnold had a brutal Monday night.
With the New York Jets coming off a big win at home against the Dallas Cowboys, the visiting New England Patriots made life hell for the second-year quarterback, refusing to let Darnold get comfortable and forcing turnover after turnover out of the New York offence.
The Patriots rattled Darnold with a gutsy gameplan, relying on Cover 0 defence and daring the Jets to beat them over the top. Then, when the Patriots were already in Darnold’s head, Belichick would call for another look, showing blitz only to drop back into coverage, producing an easy red-zone interception.
Former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky broke down the Patriots strategy brilliantly for ESPN.
The @patriots Cov 0 blitz package is historic and generational to me. It made @nyjets QB see “GHOSTS” last night & this is why. You would too, and Sam isn’t alone… @mikegiardi @richcimini @briancoz @patsfans @getupespn @damienwoody pic.twitter.com/22ZzeMpIUJ
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) October 22, 2019
Making matters worse for Darnold was the fact that he was mic’d up for the game. After one turnover, Darnold admitted to “seeing ghosts” while attempting to read and react to the Patriots defence.
— Logan (@LoganAguire) October 22, 2019
It’s not the type of thing teams like to hear from their starting quarterback, and some fans on Twitter were quick to make jokes at Darnold’s expense.
Remember the kid who could see dead people in The Sixth Sense? This is him now. Feel old yet? pic.twitter.com/nXnCJ9mjhc
— Gordon McGuinness (@PFF_Gordon) October 22, 2019
But Darnold was ultimately speaking to the reality of the situation: he was shook, and couldn’t get a good read on what the Patriots were throwing at him all night. The result was rushed decisions, throws from odd positions, and four interceptions and a fumble.
Man Darnold is completely spooked. Out there shooting fadeaways in the red zone. pic.twitter.com/V3ji6nHIeE
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) October 22, 2019
After the game, Darnold owned up to his performance. Asked about his “seeing ghosts” comments, Darnold said he was just trying to be honest with his coaching staff.
“When I talk to the coaches, I just gotta be straight up,” Darnold said. “For me, I just gotta see the field a lot better. That’s what that means. It was a rough night out there, and obviously I have got to be better and learn from the mistakes, but we will get better.”
Sam Darnold on his "seeing ghosts" comments:
"It was a rough night out there"pic.twitter.com/L7xc4LPcKa
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) October 22, 2019
After his initial roasting, fans on Twitter gave Darnold credit for owning his performance and acknowledging where he fell short.
Sam’s handling this like a pro…he’ll bounce back in a big way.
Meanwhile, I’m referring to the 2019 Patriots Defense as The Ghosts for the rest of time. https://t.co/XWIPZ7Ky5q
— Adam Lefkoe (@AdamLefkoe) October 22, 2019
Instead of firing off on Darnold, I think this is a good thing. A young QB recognizing an issue and copping to it means he’s… what’s the term anonymous scouts use for white QBs only? Cerebral. That’s it. https://t.co/m8UZu4OSHI
— NFL Philosophy (@NFLosophy) October 22, 2019
While the Jets would obviously prefer Darnold not be so flustered by the Patriots defence, his honesty about the situation should serve him well moving forward. And if it’s any consolation, Darnold is far from the first quarterback to struggle with the Patriots so far this season.
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