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Sam Darnold throws for 253 yards and two TDs in sharp effort

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) during

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) during the second half of the Houston Texans at the New York Jets on December 15, 2018. Credit: Lee S. Weissman/Lee S. Weissman


The Jets scored three offensive touchdowns for the second straight week, and Sam Darnold looked as sharp as he has all season. They needed to make a few more plays, and you would have to liked to see more creativity at times since the season is all-but over. But otherwise this was a solid performance against one of the better defenses in the league. Darnold threw for 253 yards and two scores and no interceptions. Darnold also out-gained Deshaun Watson on the ground 35-26. Darnold’s targets had some drops, including a big one by Robby Anderson on fourth-down with just under two minutes left. It would have been a first down. The offensive line did a good job against the Texans’ front. Darnold was only sacked once in the first 58 minutes of the game. The line also pushed Elijah McGuire in for a TD.


The defense had moments of brilliance. They sacked Watson six times. But when the Jets needed a critical stand, they couldn’t get it. Morris Claiborne was called for defensive holding on third down. (Not surprising, no one on the Jets agreed with the call). Then Claiborne gave up the game-winning touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins. It was a brilliant catch by Hopkins. Claiborne told him so as he was getting up of the turf. Before that, the Jets had held the Texans to four three-and-outs. On Hopkins’ first touchdown, he burned Darryl Roberts, who was twisting and all turned around on the play. Earlier in the game, Roberts misplayed another pass. He had a chance for a pick on an overthrown ball, but he had his head down as he was more focused on hitting the receiver. The Jets didn’t force a turnover.


A rare subpar game from Brant Boyer’s unit. Returner Andre Roberts wasn’t much of a factor. He totaled 93 yards on five kickoff and punt returns. Jason Myers, Mr. Reliable on field goals, missed two extra points. Trenton Cannon made a couple of good tackles on punt coverage, though.


Very few people outside of the Jets locker room gave this team a chance to be in this game, against a hungry team that was seeking a playoff berth. The Jets fought hard, battled back from 10-down to take a 22-19 lead. But once again the Jets couldn’t finish, which continues to be the norm under Todd Bowles. The embattled Jets coach made a curious call on third down in the second quarter, declining a penalty that would have forced the Texans into a third-and-8 from the Jets 40. Instead, the Texans attempted a 53-yard field goal and made it.

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