MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — For the second Sunday in a row, Sam Darnold visited Florida and was serenaded over a stadium public address system by the theme from the movie “Ghostbusters.”
It happened to the Jets quarterback in Jacksonville on Oct. 27 and again on Sunday, this time after a first-half interception against the Dolphins en route to a 26-18 loss.
The joke, of course, is a reference to last month’s loss to the Patriots, when Darnold was heard saying he was “seeing ghosts.”
There is only one way for him to stop the music: Play better.
Darnold returned on Oct. 13 after missing three games with mononucleosis. After a victory over the Cowboys, he and the Jets have lost three straight to the Patriots, Jaguars and Dolphins.
Is his confidence shaken?
“No, no, my confidence is never going to waver,” he said. “I’m very, very confident in myself and in this team. We have flashes of going down there and scoring. We just have to do it every single drive.”
The most recent was the most disturbing because Miami entered without a victory and because Darnold did little to help the cause.
His statistics were not especially terrible: 27-for-39 for 260 yards, one touchdown and one interception. But he made several key mistakes.
In the first quarter, he took an ill-advised sack on a third-and-3 play that lengthened the distance on what turned into a missed 49-yard field goal by Sam Ficken.
In the second quarter, he threw a pass after crossing the line of scrimmage and was penalized.
Just before halftime, on a second-and-goal from the 2-yard line, he rolled left and was under pressure. He forced the ball in the direction of Jamison Crowder and was intercepted by Jomal Wiltz at the 1.
“Once I saw everything was crowded, I just tried to throw it away and it didn’t work out,” he said later.
Should he have taken a sack there? “If we’re rolling out like that, you don’t want to take a sack, so I was just trying to throw it away and the guy chasing after me got a hold of it a little bit,” he said.
In the fourth quarter, the Jets had the ball at their 7-yard line and center Jonotthan Harrison snapped the ball to Darnold, who was in shotgun formation and seemed not to be paying attention. The ball flew by him and into the end zone, resulting in a Dolphins safety.
Afterward, guard Brian Winters was seen yelling something at Darnold, who responded to him on the sideline.
“It was just a miscommunication,” Darnold said.
What did Winters say? “Yeah, that stays between us, but it was just a miscommunication.”
Coach Adam Gase said he heard the players’ exchange but did not inquire about it immediately. “It wasn’t the right time and place to ask,” he said.
Darnold’s development is essential if the Jets are to evolve into a competitive team in the next two or three years, so his sophomore slump is cause for concern.
Asked if it was one of his more embarrassing losses, he said, “I’m not even sure about that. I feel like every loss is embarrassing, not just this particular loss. But every single loss, it sucks. It sucks the same.”
That may be so, but when Darnold contributes to them, they hurt a little extra, and it allows opposing teams to add a little impromptu concert to rub it in.
Sam Darnold has hit the skids the last three games. His numbers:
LONG GAIN 24