The Sam Darnold Deep Dive Week 4 – Denver Broncos

Stephen Zantz with a breakdown of Sam Darnold’s week 4 performance…

The Jets hosted the Broncos on Thursday Night and continue to embarass themselves in new ways every week. The Jets fell to the Broncos 37-28 with sets them back to 0-4 on the 2020 season. Here is the Sam Darnold deep dive.

Drive by Drive:

1st Quarter:

Drive 1: 2-4 16 yds (Darnold 46 yd TD Run)

Drive 2: 4-4 35 yds (Punt) (Darnold Left mid-drive due to shoulder injury)

1st Qtr Total: 6-8 51 yds 0 TDs 0 INTs 1 Rush TD

2nd Quarter:

Drive 3: 0-0 0 yds (Punt) (Darnold returned on final play before punt)

Drive 4: 2-5 24 yds (FG)

Drive 5: 5-10 55 yds (FG)

2nd Quarter Total: 7-15 79 yds 0 TDs 0 INTs

3rd Quarter:

Drive 6: 0-2 0 yds (FG)

Drive 7: 2-4 17 yds (Punt)

3rd Quarter Total: 2-6 17 yds 0 TDs 0 INTs

4th Quarter:

Drive 8: 2-3 42 yds (FG)

Drive 9: 4-4 24 yds (FG)

Drive 10: 2-5  17 yds (Downs)

Drive 11: 0-2 0 yds (Downs)

4th Quarter Total: 8-14 83 yds 0 TDs 0 INTs

Game Total: 23 – 42 230 yds 0 TDs 0 INTs 54% Comp. 5.5 YPA

84 yds 1 TD (Rush)

This game was a joke on so many levels from a coaching perspective, but overall Sam was far from the problem. Sam wasn’t outstanding, but he did enough to keep to team in the game. The best part about his play tonight was his willingness to run. Everyone will point back to his 46 yd run in the first quarter, but Sam was consistently using his legs to make plays throughout the night. This is something he will need to do moving forward to mitigate the talent deficiencies on the roster. The limitations at receiver continue to plague his ability to stretch the field, but he had a few nice deep shots to both Jamison Crowder and Jeff Smith. He also was getting the ball out very quick which was a nice change compared to the first 3 games. It feels like the tempo prior to this game was in slow motion.

The crazy thing about this game is Sam was playing with sprained right shoulder for most of it which caused him to briefly exit in the 2nd quarter only to return to a sack on 3rd down. Darnold demonstrated toughness which is a great sign as some of his critics feel that he lacks emotion on the sideline at times. Staying in the game despite an injury is something others in the locker room take notice of and will be remembered if Darnold struggles in the future.

One thing Sam must improve going forward is throwing the ball away when things break down. The play where he got hurt was a prime example of this. He had happy feet in the pocket looking for someone to get open which led to the sack. He has the ability to escape the pocket and should do so to avoid some of these sacks. Another issue I had which was probably more of play call problem was throwing to Frank Gore on a wheel route on 3rd down in the redzone. Regardless of what the offensive genius calls, Darnold needs to recognize throwing to a 37-year-old running back is not going to help this team score a touchdown. He needs to take a page out of the Aaron Rodgers playbook and pretend his headset is broken to change the play.

After this game, the Jets are through a quarter of their season. Sam has yet to solidify himself as a true franchise quarterback. This reality is not something Jet fans wanted to see in 2020, but here we are. There have been ups but there also have been plenty of downs. The next 12 games will be an audition for the future as this season is beyond repair. Every fan is beside themselves as to why Adam Gase is still employed by this team. Hopefully Darnold can overcome the shortcomings of this offensive staff and improves his play. 4 games into 2020, the Darnold era could be looking early way too soon without seeing Sam get any semblance of strong coaching.

Let’s admire the one highlight we have on the season one more time!