Sam Darnold had his worst game of his young career. He completed only 40.4 percent of his passes (17-for-42) and had his first three-interception game. Darnold also had his lowest passer rating (34.4). The Jets were shorthanded at receiver — Quincy Enunwa was injury and Terrelle Pryor was cut due to injury. They also lost running back Bilal Powell in the first half with a neck injury. All of that impacted Darnold and the Jets. Jermaine Kearse didn’t catch a pass. They didn’t convert on third down until there was about four minutes left in the third quarter, ran for 71 yards (60 below their average) and committed four turnovers. It was a really bad day for the offense.
It didn’t start well. The Jets were called for a 15-yard penalty on the Vikings’ first play from scrimmage because Doug Middleton led with his helmet when he tackled Latavius Murray. The drive ended quickly with a Kirk Cousins 34-yard TD pass to Adam Thielen. The Jets were banged up in the secondary — down three of their top five guys and then they lost Middleton to a shoulder injury. Cousins threw two 34-yard touchdowns and finished with 241 yards passing. The Jets, who came in with 15 takeaways, didn’t get one. They gave up two rushing scores to Murray, including a 38-yarder, and they never really pressured Cousins. He was sacked only once, and it came on the second series of the game.
The wind definitely made it challenging for punters, kickers and returners. But the Jets didn’t help themselves. The game started with a special teams turnover. Returner Andre Roberts muffed a few punts, but never lost the ball. He also let a catchable punt go over his head, costing the Jets valuable yardage late in the third. Roberts returned one punt 53 yards to set up a field goal, and averaged 32.2 yards per return. But Brant Boyer’s unit struggled overall. Jason Myers was able to make a 55-yard field goal with his back to the wind.
The Vikings didn’t let the Jets do anything they wanted to do or had been doing during their modest two-game winning streak. The Jets wanted to establish the run, but that never happened. Their offense went back to looking predictable. Todd Bowles made some questionable decisions. One was opting not to call a timeout late in the first half to give them more time when they got the ball back. The Jets had an opportunity to get some momentum heading into the locker room if they could put a scoring drive together. They did that last week. The Vikings are not the Colts, but the Jets coach should have been more aggressive there.