Sam Darnold throws first TD, Jets lead 17-10 at half

Todd Bowles has to make his stand now to keep coaching Jets

To be clear, the Jets aren't claiming they did anything sneaky or illegal.

"I know that just because I got named the starter doesn't mean that we won the game Monday night", Darnold said during the past week.

It actually began with a flourish for Detroit when Quandre Diggs intercepted rookie Sam Darnold on the first play from scrimmage and went 37 yards for a touchdown.

That was followed by Lee's pick-six, the first the Jets have had since Antonio Allen picked off Tom Brady and scored on October 20, 2013.

"I told somebody I was going to break that curse", Lee said. "We knew his signals, we knew everything". "We are excited, we are proud of him-we are proud of everybody who contributed to this win". But the Jets struck gold in the preseason by balancing the ground game with the spry pocket maneuvering of Darnold and now-departed backup Teddy Bridgewater.

Among the other things we learned: 20 seconds of great football at the start of the game is just that - a great start; a minute and 55 seconds of faultless offensive production by the Lions is just a small slice of the game that has to be continued; 12 minutes and 20 seconds of dominating football can put a game hopelessly out of reach; turnovers really do decide games. (Of course, the Lions ended up making the NFC title game that season). The Jets were taking it to them with Darnold and then the defense, running game and special teams responded with big plays, too. On Lee's first interception, he sat, waited and broke on the ball when Stafford threw it, jumping in front of Theo Riddick for a pick-six of his own.

A group of Lions coaches joined him seconds later, all moving in silence.

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The defense barely let the Lions breathe in Matt Patricia's head coaching debut.

Stafford grew rattled, both physically and mentally. But by halftime, the Jets were up 17-10, and Darnold's debut was looking a lot better. NY forced a three-and-out and Roberts returned a punt 78 yards down the left sideline to make it 38-17 with 6:57 remaining in the third quarter.

Lee took an errant Stafford pass 36 yards to pay dirt in the third quarter, jumping running back Theo Riddick's route to record the Jets' first defensive touchdown since 2013. Cornerback Morris Claiborne said it was the best week of film study he could remember.

Darnold is going to have plenty of great plays for the New York Jets, and plenty of mistakes too.

"The way he came in just set the tone right away", Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis said.

Darnold immediately calmed down after his gaffe on the first play of the game. Matt Patricia's Lions had a two-deep coverage on the play, which should have prevented against any deep throws.

Unruffled, Darnold led the Jets on their first scoring drive later in the quarter, with Crowell producing a 6-yard TD run. Darnold again had an answer.

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