What Would Sam Darnold's Season Have Looked Like With No Mono?

Kristian Dyer

Had Sam Darnold not contracted mononucleosis early in the season, the New York Jets season would have been very different. Instead, the Jets hopes at a winning season as well as playoff contention were kissed goodbye with their starting quarterback sidelined. 

Darnold’s diagnosis with mono sidelined him for three games starting with Week 2. The Jets, already 0-1 following a 17-16 season-opening home loss to the Buffalo Bills, would lose all three games that Darnold sat out. The season could have been very different had Darnold played, both for the second-year quarterback and his team. 

Due to the diagnosis, Darnold ended up playing 13 games in 2019.

In simulations run by EA SPORTS utilizing Madden NFL 20, the gaming company determined that Darnold would have pieced together a couple of impressive games were he not sidelined. 

Were Darnold to play those three games, his numbers would have been overall solid, adding to a season that saw him show signs of development and growth. And according to the Madden simulations run by EA SPORTS, the Jets would have gone 2-1 had Darnold not been sick and unable to play. 

Here are the simulations provided by EA SPORTS for the three games Darnold missed, starting in Week 2. The simulation was conducted by EA SPORTS utilizing their award-winning Madden franchise to determine Darnold’s numbers as well as the outcome of those three games: 

Week 2: Browns 

• Score: Win 27-17  

• Sam Darnold Stats:  

o CP/ATT: 19-26  

o YDS: 247  

o PASSING TD: 3  

o INT: 1  

Week 3: @ Patriots 

• Score: Loss 16-24  

• Sam Darnold Stats:  

o CP/ATT: 12-28  

o YDS: 181  

o PASSING TD: 2 

o RUSHING TD: 1  

o INT: 2  

Week 4: Bye  

Week 5: @ Eagles  

• Score: Win 31 - 20 

• Sam Darnold Stats:  

o CP/ATT: 23-31  

o YDS: 315  

o PASSING TD: 3  

o INT: 0 

With those numbers, Darnold would have shown even more growth over his what was a promising rookie season in 2018. Not only would the Jets have finished 9-7 and been in playoff contention, Darnold’s numbers would have been on an uptick this past season. 

Blending together the Madden simulations off of his three games missed and the 13 games Darnold did play, the Jets quarterback would have finished with 3,767 passing yards on 327-of-526 passes (62.1 percent, a slight uptick over his actual 61.9 percent this season).  Darnold would have finished with 27 touchdowns and 16 interceptions on the season.  

Madden remains a juggernaut of a property from EA SPORTS. This fall, Madden NFL 20 welcomed the most players ever recorded during NFL kickoff weekend in this console’s generation. The new mode, Superstar KO, offers five-minute games and Ultimate Team rewards. 

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