Zach Wilson, NY Jets, Carolina Panthers
Zach Wilson, NY Jets, Carolina Panthers, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Sam Darnold and the Panthers knock off the Jets in Week 1

  • New York Jets 14 (0-1)
  • Carolina Panthers 19 (1-0)
  • NFL, Week 1, Final, Box Score
  • Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC

Sam Darnold’s two scores, one through the air and one on the ground, haunted his former team, as his new employers, the Carolina Panthers, topped the New York Jets by a 19-14 final at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Christian McCaffrey earned 187 yards of offense in the victory, while Darnold’s successor, Zach Wilson, found Corey Davis for his first two NFL scores. Davis led all receivers with 97 yards on five receptions.

The teams exchanged punts over the first four possessions before Carolina broke the cycle in heartbreaking fashion with Darnold’s fourth-down fumble deep in Jets territory. New York made it a yard past midfield on the ensuing drive but the momentum was stifled by Wilson’s professional interception.

Shaq Thompson took the historic turnover back to the Jets’ 32, but Gang Green was able to keep things manageable, stopping the Panthers three yards short of six. Ryan Santoso’s 22-yard field goal made it 3-0.

Darnold and Anderson dealt the coldest form of revenge after the Jets turned it over on downs after the field. It took one play for them to open the game up, hooking up for a 57-yard tally that gave Carolina a 9-0 lead after Santoso missed the extra point.

Darnold bestowed further damage on a five-yard scoring run at the end of a 62-yard possession, allowing the Panthers to take a 16-0 lead into the locker room.

Further defensive struggles ensued in the second half, but the Jets finally broke through with a sterling eight-play, 70-yard drive that saw Wilson tally 57 yards on five perfect attempts.

The trek ended with Wilson finding Davis for their first respective touchdowns as Jets. Wilson ran in the ensuing two-pointer on a draw to slice the lead in half.

Alas, the drive was not without disaster, as Mekhi Becton left the game with an apparent foot injury suffered on the scoring play. Becton was escorted to the locker room on a medical cart and did not return.

Carolina kept the Jets’ comeback effort at bay with a nearly eight-minute sustained mostly by McCaffrey’s offensive abilities. Santoso’s short triple allowed re-established a two-possession lead, but the Jets once again narrowed the gap with a 93-yard drive capped off by another Wilson-to-Davis tally. The ensuing two-point try was no good.

Alas, any final chances for a completed metropolitan comeback went by the wayside when the Jets were unable to recover an onside kick after Davis’ second score. One more run by McCaffrey sealed the deal, and the Jets were doomed to a 19-14 defeat.

The Jets (0-1) return to action in their home opener next Sunday afternoon against the New England Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

For the full box score, click here

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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Geoff Magliocchetti is a veteran football writer with years of credentialed experience with the Jets and Giants. Email:
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2 years ago

Connor McGovern STINKS! He may be a great guy, this is not about that but he is HORRIBLE in the middle. He’s supposed to be the QB of that OL and I hope Joe or Nania break down the play (whish I had the exact situation) he had his arms out in front of him, blocked NOBODY and just turned around and watched as Zach got sacked. I’m sorry I’ve had enough of him on the field. Then he went and gave a smug answer in a preseason interview saying something like, well Zach hasn’t been sacked so the pass protection must but fine. REALLY? What a disgrace. He was sacked 4 out of 6 times today vs a 4 man rush according to ESPN stats. I’ve had enough, he’s not good and neither is Van Roten, who is also great at the podium but nothing more than a spot starter.