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It must feel like a long time ago for Sam Darnold since the last time he saw the Raiders, but it was only a little more than a year ago.
Last Nov. 24, Darnold threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-3 Jets win over the team that then played in Oakland. A year later, Darnold faces the Raiders again Sunday — this time the Las Vegas Raiders — but Darnold faces them in a major slump. That game last year is the last time he has thrown for 300 yards in a game. He has not thrown a touchdown pass in his last 19 quarters, dating back to Sept. 27 against the Colts.
Nothing has gone right for Darnold in his third season with the Jets and it feels like these could be his final weeks as the team’s quarterback. This past week, coach Adam Gase took responsibility for failing to develop Darnold and the quarterback is in the midst of a bad run of injuries and poor play.
“You can’t control the past you can only control the present and what you do in the future,” Darnold said. “So, for me, I’m just looking forward to going out there this weekend and playing better. At the end of the day, throwing touchdowns is nice, but all I care about is winning. So, obviously when you’re a quarterback and you’re not throwing touchdown passes in consecutive games, usually that’s not a good thing. So, I’ve just got to continue to put our team in the right position to be able to score points, finish in the red zone and win games.”
The 0-11 Jets need Darnold to carry them to their first win. The 6-5 Raiders are playoff contenders but have lost their last two games, including a 43-6 blowout last week to the Falcons.
Gase, who is expected to be fired at the end of the season, knows Darnold is bothered by his failures this year.
“It’s frustrating,” Gase said of Darnold’s streak of four games without a touchdown pass. “For him, personally, I’m sure it bothers him, knowing things like that. I mean, I look at it as you know we got to do a better job as a staff. We got to put these guys in the best position possible and then those guys got to go execute. I mean it’s on all of us, we all have to do a better job and we have to find a way to, one, put the ball in the end zone.”