There are two sides to every story, a saying that is perfectly applicable to New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold’s NFL debut.
The 21-year-old looked solid in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions, throwing for a pair of touchdowns while completing over 76-percent of his passes in a blowout victory.
On the other hand, it came against a Lions defense that looked utterly putrid.
Regardless, after an opening pick-six on his very first professional throw, Darnold looked like an established vet for the remainder of the Jets’ 48-17 win on Monday night.
It’s a win that obviously excited Jets fans considering this is a team that has won just five games in each of the last two seasons, but that excitement should be compressed. Even if it just for one more week. After all, it is the Jets.
The Jets and Darnold will be facing a much more difficult opponent in the Miami Dolphins, an AFC East rival that is coming off a 27-20 victory over a Tennessee Titans team that made the playoffs last year.
In that win, the secondary excelled, limiting the combination of Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert to just 220 yards through the air while picking them off three times.
Miami’s pass defense was anchored by safety Reshad Jones, who picked off Mariota twice including one that was returned for a touchdown. The veteran centerfielder of Miami’s defense has already tied his total from last season, providing the kind of aggression and play-recognition that could cause Darnold some problems on Sunday.
Alongside fellow safety and rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick, who starred at Alabama before being selected 11th overall at the 2018 NFL Draft and the Dolphins have a playmaking core leading the secondary, something that Darnold will have to be aware of in his second-ever start. Especially when it comes to trying to force the big play on the outside to Robby Anderson or Quincy Enunwa considering Dolphins cornerback Bobby McCain also looked solid in his 2018 debut, limiting Titans No. 1 receiver Corey Davis to 62 yards.