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Jets QB Sam Darnold Earns High Praise Following Loss to Texans 

The Green & White had a 15-play, 79-yard scoring possession in the final stanza in which Darnold converted a third-and-1 with a 3-yard keeper, a third-and-8 with a 25-yard gain to fellow rookie Chris Herndon, a 4th-and-1 with a 6-yarder to Robby Anderson and a third-and-10 with a super athletic off-script jaunt that resulted in 14 yards. When Eli McGuire culminated the 7:33 drive, Darnold had the Jets in front in a game they had trailed 16-3 early.

“He ran around all night, make a lot of plays on the run,” said Texans all-world defender J. J. Watt of Darnold, who finished 24-of-38 for 253 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers. “He can scramble, he can make throws. He’s a good player and obviously he’s young and he’s got a great future ahead of him. So I told him he’s a great player and good luck.”

Darnold was brilliant in the first half, connecting on 14-of-19 for 142 yards with a touchdown. Six days after taking down the Bills with some two-minute mastery, Darnold was back at it with the Green & White down 13 and in need of a score. His 5-yard TD to Robby Anderson with 35 seconds left in the half — their second scoring connection in as many weeks — wasn’t how you draw them up. But that is the beauty of the rookie passer who is coming into his own. He has great instincts and he can buy himself time and this was a great example of that, stepping up in the pocket and running within a couple of inches behind the line of scrimmage and then finding a crossing Anderson.

“When he’s playing his game, he’s not trying to be perfect,” said head coach Todd Bowles of the USC product. “He is enjoying playing football. That comes game-by-game. Obviously having success has something to do with it, but when you sit out a while, you get to step back. When you come back, you’ve learned a little bit. He looks like he’s learned quite a bit.”

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