Jets QB Darnold leaves game after hard sack, then returns

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold left against Denver late in the first quarter Thursday night after a hard sack by linebacker Alexander Johnson, and soon returned to the game.

On a first down, Darnold tried to avoid the rush and was slammed to the ground by Johnson — who had missed an attempted sack earlier and saw Darnold escape for a 46-yard touchdown run. Darnold handed off on the next play, then headed to the sideline and into the locker room. Veteran Joe Flacco, in his first game as New York’s backup, took over, but Darnold came back early in the second period.

No flag was thrown on Johnson’s tackle.

Darnold has missed games in his first two NFL seasons with a foot injury and mononucleosis. He looked to be severely hurt, but came back for the end of the next series, taking another sack.

The Jets also lost defensive lineman Steve McLendon (knee), cornerback Bless Austin (calf) and tackle Chuma Edoga (shoulder) in the first period. McLendon was probable to return.


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