The Jets' Week 7 loss to the Patriots on Monday Night Football was a low point of Sam Darnold's young NFL career.
Facing the league's top defense, Darnold struggled mightily, completing just 11 of his 32 passes for a mere 86 yards. He threw four interceptions as well, as the Jets were shut out 33-0 in front of a national audience.
Fast forward to just over one month later, and things are looking much different for Darnold and the Jets. The Jets have won three straight games over the Giants, Redskins, and Raiders, and during that span, Darnold has thrown for 838 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception, compiling a 117.2 passer rating.
According to the second-year signal-caller, the way he responded to the criticism from that Patriots game has gone a long way towards the way he's played over the last three weeks.
"I think, for me, it wasn't the game, obviously, that I wanted. I just played terribly. It was embarrassing for me to go out there and play that way," Darnold said on Wednesday. "Really, for me, the worst part was letting my teammates down and going out there and losing the football game. That was the worst part for me. I think just coming back to work the next week and continuing to try to get better, that's the way that I dealt with it and that's the way I'm going to continue to deal with games like that in the future. Hopefully, they don't come up, but it's just how the game goes sometimes.
Following the loss to the Patriots, the Jets went on to lose their next two games to the Jaguars and Dolphins, yet they stayed resilient after dropping to 1-7.
And while Darnold and company are still in quite the hole at 4-7, the team is beginning to show signs of progress.
"I think it just kind of shows how resilient our team can be. I think we've showed it all year. I think we've done a lot better job the last few weeks of continuing the success that we've had on some drives because games that we were losing, like Jacksonville and Miami, we have put together great drives and then not so great drives. So, I think we've done a lot better job of sustaining success.
"I think for the most part, I just realized the kind of trust that my teammates had in me and the coaches had in me because they didn't blink an eye. For me, I just came back out on Wednesday (after New England), got back in the huddle and did the same thing I usually do. So, we just got back to work. That's been the story all year and we're just going to continue that process every single week.
Up next for Gang Green is a trip to Cincinnati to play a hapless Bengals team that will enter the game 0-11.
And while the Jets go into the game as favorites to win their fourth straight, Darnold knows there's always plenty he and his teammates can improve upon.
"I think there are still, for us, there are areas we need to improve, like every team has out there. But, I think we've definitely done a lot better job of sustaining success and putting drives together."
"I think I can always get better in preparation," Darnold said of his own play. "I think understanding what a defense is doing, I can always learn and grow that way. My feet in the pocket, I think, can always get better. I feel like sometimes I'm still a little spastic, but that can definitely settle down a little bit. I feel like I've been doing a better job the last couple weeks. So, there are definitely a lot of things that I need to keep working on and I will."