Although the Jets dropped to 0-4 Thursday night, the team managed to avoid incurring what could've been a more devastating loss earlier in the night.
With less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter, quarterback Sam Darnold took a vicious sack from Broncos linebacker A.J. Johnson for a loss of 10 yards, and immediately appeared to be in discomfort near his right shoulder/collarbone area.
Although the hit and his reaction indicated much worse, Darnold made a quick trip to the locker room and trotted back onto the field after missing just five combined snaps over two drives. He finished the night 23-of-42 for 230 yards, and led the team with 84 rushing yards on six carries.
Coach Adam Gase announced after the game that Darnold suffered a sprained shoulder on the play.
"Yeah. The way he got thrown down, I wasn't sure," Gase said about whether he was concerned Darnold was seriously hurt after the hit. "I was trying to blue print out kinda how the rest of the game was gonna go with Joe [Flacco]. Trying to make sure they call it right … if something happened to him, we're going to the emergency quarterback. There was a lot of time left."
Darnold's injury scare put a damper on what was an otherwise solid start to the game for the young signal-caller. He capped a nine-play, 75-yard opening drive with a 46-yard scramble to the end zone to give New York an early lead.
His exit came six plays into the ensuing drive, which brought in veteran QB Joe Flacco, who was activated for the first time this season earlier in the day, for his first game action since October, 2019.
Flacco finished the drive Darnold was injured on and began the next series following a Broncos TD before Darnold took back over on third-and-5 during the team's first drive of the second quarter.