Sam Darnold: 'I played stupid football' versus Dolphins

New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold endured a tough outing Sunday, throwing a career-high four interceptions en route to a 13-6 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

A day later, Darnold didn’t hold back with a self-evaluation on his performance.

"For me, I’m just not playing to the best of my ability and, quite frankly, just playing stupid," Darnold said in a teleconference, via Rich Cimini of ESPN. "I thought I played stupid football [Sunday]. I just have to be better. I know that, the coaches know that, everybody knows that."

The Jets are on a three-game slide, and Darnold has seven interceptions in that span. On the season, the rookie signal-caller has thrown 14 picks.

Sunday’s game, however, proved especially brutal for Darnold, who threw interceptions in three of the Jets’ final four possessions. One of the picks was returned the other way for a defensive touchdown to give the Dolphins a 13-3 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Whatever the Dolphins did defensively rattled the young quarterback and caused him to pause instead of trusting his instincts and ability.

"I just have to play smarter, play better," Darnold said. "Yeah, I definitely feel like I forced some things. But at the same time, I feel like there were some throws [I didn’t make] where I was second-guessing myself and I could’ve pulled the trigger.

"At some moments in the game, I just get in my own head. I just have to stay true to my progressions and make sure [I have] the confidence I normally have. Just go out there and sling it."

In the meantime, the Jets aren’t likely to make a quarterback change despite Darnold’s recent struggles.

He is the team’s future, after all, and his current stretch of struggles should go a long way in helping develop mental toughness.

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