Sam Darnold's comment in the midst of the New York Jets' 33-0 loss to the New England Patriots was one of the main talking points in the hours immediately following the game. Darnold, the Jets' second year quarterback, endured the worst game of his career to this point, going 11 of 32 for 86 yards with four interceptions. He also fumbled against the Patriots' top-ranked defense, a unit that has allowed just 48 points through seven games.
Darnold, who was mic'd up by ESPN during Monday night's loss, was asked to clarify his "seeing ghosts" comments afterward.
"I think for me, when I talk to the coaches, I just gotta be straight up," Darnold said, via Kimberly Jones of the NFL Network. "For me, I just gotta see the field a lot better. That's kinda what that means. It was a rough day out there, a rough night out there. Obviously, I got to get better and learn from the mistakes. But we will get better."
Jets head coach Adam Gase, whose team fell to 1-5 on the season, was also asked about Darnold's ghost comment.
"Obviously, when we look back at this, he's not gonna be happy," said Gase, who is in the middle of his first season as the Jets' head coach. "He probably was felling like guys were coming free when they might not have been. It's tough. That's why playing against these guys, if you pick some of this stuff up early, they're gonna keep bringing it and they're gonna find different ways to bring it, and it's just gonna get back from there, which it did."
Running back Le'Veon Bell, the Jets' best player on Monday night (he finished with 70 rushing yards on 15 carries and had two nice plays called back for holding), said that Darnold should be able to use Monday's setback as a building block.
"I think he learned a lot from this game," said Bell, who was Ben Roethlisberger's teammate when Big Ben threw a career-high five picks in a 2017 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. "Sometimes, you gotta have that. A young player; I know I've had games like that. Hopefully, this is a step for him to get better … Playing a team like the Patriots, they're the best team in the league, defensive wise. So, he's gonna learn from that."
While Monday's game film won't be kind to Darnold, he is just one week removed from throwing for 337 yards and two touchdowns in New York's upset win over the Dallas Cowboys. Darnold, as the Patriots exposed Monday night, needs more help at wide receiver as well as on the offensive line, two areas the Jets will undoubtedly look to strengthen this offseason. Darnold is also still without tight end Chris Herndon, who missed the season's first four games while serving a suspension and is now sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Bell is right. Darnold should undoubtedly get better from Monday night's experience. At the same time, Monday's blowout loss was a reminder of how dominant the Patriots still are, as well as how far away the Jets still are when it comes to competing with the league's best on a weekly basis.