Darnold Throws Three Interceptions in Blowout Loss

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Sports|Darnold Throws Three Interceptions in Blowout Loss

Colts 36, Jets 7

The Colts returned two of Sam Darnold’s turnovers for touchdowns as the Jets fell to 0-3 for the second consecutive year under Coach Adam Gase.

Credit...Darron Cummings/Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Xavier Rhodes delivered the first punch for the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Then T.J. Carrie finished it off in a milestone game for quarterback Philip Rivers.

Rhodes and Carrie each returned an interception for a touchdown, the Colts recorded a safety for the second straight week and Rivers threw his 400th career touchdown pass as the Colts routed the Jets, 36-7, at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts returned two interceptions for scores in one game for the first time since October 1970, also against the Jets. On offense, Rivers, 38, played like his best self, getting rid of the ball quickly and crisply while avoiding mistakes.

Rivers was 17 of 21 for 217 yards and played his first turnover-free game since joining the Colts (2-1). He became the sixth player in league history to throw 400 career touchdown passes and the sixth to top 60,000 yards. He also passed the Hall of Famer Dan Marino for fifth on the career completions list and broke a tie with the Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton for eighth in league history with his 125th career win.

And with the help of a suddenly high-scoring defense, the Colts made it look easy against the winless Jets, who are 0-3 for the second consecutive season under Coach Adam Gase.

Rhodes picked off Darnold on the fifth play of the game and returned it 44 yards to make it 7-0. Darnold answered with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Braxton Berrios to tie it midway through the first quarter.

Then, it was all Colts.

After a pass interference call against the Jets in the end zone, Rivers found Mo Alie-Cox for a 1-yard score to give the Colts a 14-7 lead. Rodrigo Blankenship extended the Colts’ halftime lead to 17-7 with a 42-yard field goal. Jonathan Taylor’s 1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal gave Indy a 24-7 lead in the third and Carrie’s 47-yard interception return on the final play of the quarter sealed it.

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Credit...Aj Mast/Associated Press

Darnold was 17 of 27 with 168 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. His offense opened the game without starting receivers Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder, and right tackle George Fant. All three were inactive. Then left tackle Mekhi Becton left in the first half with an injured shoulder and did not return. Linebacker Jordan Willis and safety Bradley McDougald got hurt in the fourth quarter.

The Jets had 188 yards of offense in the first half against the league’s No. 1 defense but finished with 260. For Indianapolis, Alie-Cox finished with three catches for 50 yards, and T.Y. Hilton had three receptions for 52 yards.

Colts team officials announced 7,480 tickets were distributed. Indianapolis has played in front of fans all three weeks, as the N.F.L. tries to stage its season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Jets hope to snap their three-game losing streak at home on Thursday against Denver.

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