Sam Darnold’s poor showing among takeaways from Jets’ Week 17 loss to Patriots

Tyler Greenawalt
·3 min read

We learned almost nothing new about the Jets in Week 17.

The offense looked alright but flopped in moments of need, Sam Darnold made some good throws and some truly horrid ones, and the defense couldn’t stop anything all afternoon. If anything, this game proved that the Jets need a complete remake in order to change the culture of the team. The Jets are fully expected to fire Adam Gase sooner rather than later, and he didn’t do much to give Christopher Johnson any reason to change his mind. New York’s offense couldn’t score more than 14 points and the offense gave up three unanswered scores to lose by double digits.

Here are four takeaways from the Week 17 loss to the Patriots.

Darnold didn’t do enough

(Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

This game showed why Darnold shouldn’t be the future for the Jets. He threw some nice passes but also had a lot of duds, including an interception that led to a Patriots tie-breaking score and a critical fourth-quarter interception in the red zone. Darnold proved in this game he hasn’t learned from past mistakes and hasn’t developed well enough to stick around. He completed 23-34 passes for 266 yards and two scores but failed to make the plays when the Jets needed him. Whether or not that’s Darnold’s fault, the coaching staff’s fault, the talent around him or all three doesn’t matter anymore. This is who Darnold is at this point, and it's not enough.

Herndon's resurgence continues

(Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

Herndon’s time in New York may not be over just yet. The tight end hasn’t looked right for most of this season but turned in two nice games at the end. A week after he caught all four of his targets for 34 yards and a score against the Browns, Herndon led the team with six receptions for 55 yards and a nice 21-yard touchdown. The next Jets head coach very well may keep Herndon on for at least one more season – he has one year left on his rookie contract – and he could be a featured played in the Jets offense depending on the offensive gameplan and the quarterback for 2021.

Defense sputters without Williams

(Adam Glanzman-Getty Images)

The defense played well the past few weeks but looked horrendous in Week 17. The Patriots scored the most points as a team since Week 13 and Cam Newton scored his most touchdowns since Week 2. It was an overall pitiful performance for the Jets defense, which was without Quinnen Williams on the defensive line. There are a few solid players on the defense, but chances are Douglas will gut this side of the ball and try to find a better collection of players when he and the new head coach find the next defensive coordinator.

Secondary issues continue

(Billie Weiss-Getty Images)

The Jets' secondary hasn’t been good since Bless Austin, Brian Poole and Bradley McDougald were put on injured reserve, but this was one of their worst showings in recent weeks. They gave up 261 passing yards and four passing touchdowns to Newton and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. Fortunately, the players are young and moldable depending on who takes over next season. The Jets will likely upgrade their secondary this offseason, but they may have some solid role players in Bryce Hall, Javelin Guidry Lamar Jackson.