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Jets take off fast as Darnold shines

Reuters

The Jets’ Robby Anderson, center, celebrates with quarterback Sam Darnold, right, after the two connected for a touchdown against the Lions on Monday.

The Associated PressDETROIT (AP) — Sam Darnold rolled right and made a rookie move, lobbing a football across the field that was picked off and returned for a touchdown.

It might’ve been his only mistake all night.

Darnold made a stellar debut after throwing a pick-6 on his first NFL snap, and the New York Jets intercepted five passes and also scored on special teams in a 48-17 rout over the Detroit Lions on Monday night.

The 21-year-old Darnold became the youngest quarterback to start a season opener since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, and looked his age on the first play.

“Licking my chops a little bit too much, I think, on that play,” he said

Quandre Diggs intercepted his ill-advised pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown 20 seconds into the game.

“On that interception, I was pretty nervous,” Darnold said. “After that, I put it behind me.”

The former USC star, drafted No. 3 overall, shook off the nerves and finished 16 of 21 for 198 yards and two touchdowns .

“He didn’t flinch,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “He didn’t even blink.”

Darnold helped the Jets set a franchise record for points on the road, surpassing the 47 they scored in 1967 against the Boston Patriots. He also outplayed 30-year-old Matthew Stafford.

Stafford threw four interceptions — one shy of his career high — and left the game briefly in the third quarter after being hit from the front and back by the swarming, hard-hitting Jets.

“We wanted to make sure we came out and made a statement in this game,” New York linebacker Darron Lee said.

Stafford was 27 of 46 for 286 yards and a TD pass to Golden Tate early in the third quarter to tie it at 17. He was mercifully taken out midway through the fourth quarter and replaced by Matt Cassel with Detroit down 31.

“Story of the game’s turnovers, you know?” he asked. “We had too many of them, I had too many of them.”

The Jets dominated in all phases.

They scored 31 straight in the third quarter to pull away, sending Detroit’s fans for the exits and setting off a jolly green party in the Motor City. It was the highest-scoring third quarter in team history and trailed only the 34-point second quarter the Brett Favre-led team scored in 2008 against Arizona.

New York scored on the ground and through the air, on defense and on a punt return by former Lion Andre Roberts. The Jets could’ve piled on even more in the final minutes but turned the ball over on downs after kneeling to take time off the clock. Darnold flipped the ball to a referee after the final kneel down, and the official gave it right back before shaking the rookie’s hand.

Rams spoil Gruden’s return

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jared Goff threw two touchdown passes, newcomer Marcus Peters returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown and the Los Angeles Rams spoiled coach Jon Gruden's much-anticipated return to the Oakland sideline by beating the Raiders 33-13.

The Rams (1-0) scored on a 19-yard shovel pass from Goff to Todd Gurley in the first quarter and an 8-yard strike to Cooper Kupp in the third to win in Gruden's first game as coach of the Raiders (0-1) since the end of the 2001 season.

Gruden was traded to Tampa Bay after that season and beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl the following year. He has been announcing for ESPN for the past nine seasons before Oakland owner Mark Davis finally lured him back to the delight of Raiders fans.Speech

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