EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The winless New York Jets have a lot of problems. Add injured quarterback to the list.
Sam Darnold sprained his right shoulder Thursday night in the Jets’ 37-28 loss to the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. He finished the game after being body-slammed to the turf in the first quarter, but he admitted it was a “painful” injury and seemed to be uncomfortable in a postgame video call with reporters.
The Jets (0-4) didn’t provide a prognosis. They have a mini-bye before facing the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 11.
Darnold insisted he was “fine” and that he’d take it day by day.
“I’ve had something similar, so I wasn’t too worried,” he said. “Once they told me I could go out there again, I started to get excited.”
Darnold grimaced in pain after he was sacked. He tried to play through it, but he lasted only one play before he went to the sideline and was taken immediately to the locker room for an examination.
He was replaced by former Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco, who made his Jets debut. Flacco played only four snaps before yielding to Darnold.
Initially, coach Adam Gase thought it was a major injury.
“Yeah, the way he got thrown down, I wasn’t sure,” he said. “I was trying to blueprint how the rest of the game was going to go” with Flacco at quarterback.
A few minutes later, Darnold emerged from the locker room, threw a few warm-ups and reentered the game.
Darnold took a beating in the game, as he was sacked six times. Part of the reason was a revolving door at left tackle. Chuma Edoga started for the injured Mekhi Becton, but Edoga lasted only four plays because of a shoulder injury.
Becton came off the bench and played 16 snaps, but he aggravated his injured left shoulder and had to yield to Conor McDermott.
Darnold played a solid game, completing 23 of 42 passes for 230 yards and rushing for a 46-yard touchdown — the longest scoring run in franchise history for a quarterback. But he struggled in the red zone, where the Jets went 0-for-3.
“It’s unacceptable,” he said.
Darnold’s durability has been a question in his career. He missed six games in his first two years — three due to a foot injury, three due to mononucleosis.