ATLANTA — Yep. The dateline isn’t faux. And it isn’t from out within the suburbs, the place the Mets salvaged one from the Braves. That is preseason soccer, and this satan went right down to Georgia not searching for a soul to steal, however for a future to blossom.
As a result of Sam Darnold can also be right here.
That is what a quarterback like Darnold brings to a crew: eyeballs and curiosity — even in the midst of August, when it’s nonetheless onerous to conjure soccer season. Even right here, in Georgia, the place soccer is meant to be each king and courtroom, there have been solely a smattering of followers inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Is sensible. The Falcons have Matt Ryan, so that they have already got a franchise quarterback, one who dragged them heartbreakingly near the Lombardi Trophy not so way back. The Jets hope that’s what they’ve in Darnold. They’ve gambled most of their franchise on it, a lot of their future.
So right here we’re. And for the second straight recreation, Darnold regarded splendid on the primary drive of the sport. Every week in the past towards the Giants, after almost having his first pitch of summer season intercepted, Darnold marched the Jets effortlessly to a landing.
Identical factor right here. Bing, bang, zip, zoop, eight performs, 68 yards, Darnold finishing three out of 4 — and the one he missed ought to, by rights, have been a 12-yard landing to Quincy Enunwa, a beautiful cross proper on Enunwa’s fingertips within the again nook of the top zone. The TD got here on a 1-yard run by Ty Montgomery.
(Fortunately, we don’t journey to Atlanta to see Le’Veon Bell, as a result of Bell spent the sport in his civvies.)
This week’s Jets kicker, Taylor Bertolet, regarded very similar to final week’s Jets kicker, Chandler Catanzaro, and missed the additional level, then one other one in a while. And that, basically, was that. Darnold performed two extra collection. The Jets obtained yet one more first down. Coach Adam Gase didn’t put all that a lot on movie, and Darnold escaped unscathed, and that made it a very good night time throughout.
To the delight and dismay of precisely no one, the Jets gained the sport, 22-10.
“Sam did an incredible job,” Gase stated. “Most of our guys did. It’s good to see guys doing precisely what we’ve labored on since spring, see it come to life on the sphere.”
Mentioned Darnold himself: “There’s so many alternative issues we are able to do with this offense. We are able to construct off this.”
And … properly, we’d all higher get used to the truth that you’re going to see Sam Darnold’s title within the newspaper quite a bit. His title has already been within the papers quite a bit — he did begin from Sport 1 final 12 months in spite of everything — however now he’s not a curiosity. Now, the coaching wheels are off. Now, as a substitute of utilizing “Darnold” and “franchise quarterback” in the identical paragraph, they’re in the identical sentence.
And when that occurs …
Nicely, put it this fashion. In Eli Manning’s second 12 months within the NFL, his first because the Giants’ beginning quarterback, his title appeared on this newspaper 537 instances from Aug. 1-Jan. 15. By comparability, Tiki Barber — the crew’s finest offensive participant — was talked about 334 instances. Michael Strahan — a member of that crew certain for the Corridor of Fame — was in there 321 instances.
It’s a quarterback’s world. We simply dwell in it.
Why, since we’re in Atlanta, I believed I’d mud off this cheery reminiscence from again in 2013, again when the Falcons nonetheless performed within the Georgia Dome, on a prime-time night time when … properly, learn it for your self. Attempt to not let it take your breath away:
… the rookie quarterback, Geno Smith, took a dozen big leaps ahead, main the Jets fearlessly, and meticulously, with a confidence belying his years, setting the Jets up for the game-winning subject objective and setting himself up, fairly presumably, for an prolonged journey as New York soccer’s toast of the city …
Yeah. The Pulitzer committee despatched that one again, C.O.D.
And, look, everyone knows none of this really issues, that nothing will really matter for an additional three ½ weeks, till they take the sphere at MetLife Stadium and the Buffalo Payments are gazing them from throughout the sphere and the subsequent chapter of Sam Darnold’s profession can really start to unfold.
So this satan went right down to Georgia. As soon as upon a time, this was the journey Eli Manning took everybody on. It was time properly spent. It was sensible getting in on that floor ground.
Will it’s this time round?
That’s why we’re right here.