Sam Darnold
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

The New York Jets took a big lead on the Dallas Cowboys in Sam Darnold‘s return before a big defensive stop stifled a late comeback.

  • New York Jets 24 (1-4)
  • Dallas Cowboys 22 (3-3)
  • NFL, Week 6, Final, Box Score
  • MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

Adam Gase’s first win as the head coach of the New York Jets wasn’t easy… but the Jets and their fans certainly won’t complain.

Sam Darnold threw for 338 yards in his anticipated return and a strong first half was enough for the Jets to escape MetLife Stadium with a 24-22 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

The Jets (1-4) and their offense hadn’t scored a first-half touchdown all season, but they remedied that with magnificence from Darnold in his rearrival from illness.

Darnold led the Jets to three touchdowns, two coming via his arm as the Jets built a 21-3 lead. The first was a two-yard punch from Le’Veon Bell, likewise scoring for the first time since opening weekend. Dallas (3-3) slowly began to inch their way back in, but a crucial fourth-down stop in the red zone when the score was 7-3 forever changed the course of the game.

Jamal Adams and Quinnen Williams collaborated to stop Dak Prescott in the backfield. One play later, Darnold launched a deep ball to Robby Anderson. The subsequent catch was the longest pass in the NFL this season, good for 92 yards and a 14-3 lead.

Getting the ball back at the two-minute warning via a punt, the Jets took full advantage. Darnold found tight end Ryan Griffin three times en route to the end zone, including the finisher. A five-yard scoring toss gave the Jets a whopping 21-3 lead, one Dallas slightly trimmed via a 62-yard Brett Maher field goal.

The Cowboys started to begin a comeback in earnest with a 14-play, 61-yard trek to open the third quarter. That drive ended in another Maher field goal (and a touchdown wiped out via penalty), but Ezekiel Elliott began to take matters into his own hands.

Via a healthy dose of Elliott, the Cowboys again opened the fourth quarter with a decent drive. A missed Maher boot stifled matters, but Elliott saw his work validated with a five-yard run with 6.5 minutes remaining.

New York didn’t fully put the Cowboys away, but Darnold was able to muster a crucial triple. A seven-play, 57-yard drive, one extended by six straight combined penalties led to a Sam Ficken field goal from 38 yards out. The Cowboys would respond with another touchdown, this one scored via a four-yard Prescott run. On the vital two-point conversion, Prescott was instantly besieged by a rush. His desperation throw to Jason Witten fell incomplete, and the Jets recovered an onside kick to secure the win.

The Jets will look for consecutive wins next Monday night, as they take on the New England Patriots in East Rutherford (8:15 p.m., ESPN).