Wherever he goes, whatever he does, they will always hold the mental and physical edge over the former top pick.
Somewhere far down the line (or not so far?), Darnold will be selling used cars or scooping ice cream, and he’ll flinch because, out of the corner of his eye, he thinks he sees Jamie Collins test-driving a Toyota Highlander or cleaning out the blender.
But what if we told you that “Darnold vs. the Patriots” is only the fourth-worst negative scoring margin a QB has ever posted through his first four starts against one opponent?
And what if we followed that up by telling you that the Patriots are also responsible for the No. 1 slot, it’s a far better quarterback, and it’s a much heftier margin?
Ladies and gentlemen, gaze in joy upon this chart ESPN produced after Sunday’s game, featuring two of the most impressive human trophies in Bill Belichick’s case.
The Patriots destroyed Andrew Luck to an historic extent. Yes, worse than Sam Darnold.
Yup. You thought the Patriots made Sam Darnold see ghosts? Well, they had Andrew Luck in a spin cycle so vicious he was out there seeing Civil War brigadier generals by the final whistle.
His first start at New England in the fall of 2012, his rookie year, brought us one of those good old lines from the Tom Brady era. The good news? Luck went 27-50 with two TDs and three picks. The bad news? His Colts lost … 59-24. 59-24! The next regular season game was a 42-20 fart noise, and that wasn’t even the gam that contained the failed trick play for the ages! That was 2015, another regular season Luck loss.
Oh, and we can’t forget the 2013 and 2014 playoffs, culminating in the Deflategate AFC Championship Game, where a disoriented Luck, probably hazy thinking about the Ideal Gas Law, went 12-of-33 for 126 yards, no touchdowns and a pair of picks. Positively Darnold-ian!
Meanwhile, the man under center for the Patriots is out here actually making the good kind of Andrew Luck-related history. So that’s nice.
Patriots QB Mac Jones joins Andrew Luck (2012) and Dak Prescott (2016) as the only rookies since the merger to have 5+ wins, 10+ pass TD and 2,000+ pass yds in their first 9 career games
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) November 7, 2021
Sure, the Darnold experiment is essentially over, and his single touchdown against the Patriots — in his entire career — against nine interceptions (and growing!) is tough to fathom.
But at least he’s not elite against the rest of the league, exclusively unable to solve Belichick’s defense the way Luck once was. He struggles everywhere! He doesn’t just have one thorn in his side.
Is that a silver lining, or is that nothing?