Things began brightly enough, with Darnold pulling off his best Lamar Jackson impersonation early in the game and breaking off a 46-yard touchdown run, juking Broncos safety Justin Simmons out of his shoes on the way. But from that point on, the 2018 No. 3 overall pick was outdueled by former undrafted free agent Brett Rypien, and Darnold couldn’t even take advantage when Rypien started to throw the ball to Jets players rather than his own.
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Darnold was briefly knocked from the game as he was slammed to the turf by Denver linebacker Alexander Johnson, and as tempting as it would be to blame the pass-blocking situation for all of Darnold’s woes, he actually performed relatively well when under pressure — which is just as well, because he was under fire on 41.5% of his dropbacks.