"From the [game-winning] drive to leaving the game and coming back ... we've said it all season: He has the right makeup," veteran backup Josh McCown said after the win, via the New York Post. "Those are the things that you look for and you want in a quarterback that's going to lead your franchise for a long time. Today was a great glimpse into that."
Darnold left the game after suffering another injury on the first drive of the game. Yet the rookie returned to help lead Gang Green claw back from a 17-6 hole.
"He played tough and gritty ... he was smiling and having fun ... he's starting to be himself," Jets coach Todd Bowles said.
The play of the game for the rookie quarterback came on a mad scramble in which Darnold escaped right, dodged a defender, pivoted, turned back left, weaved past another rusher, and fired a dart to Robby Anderson for a game-tying 7-yard touchdown.
It was the type of play that reminded fans of his best days at USC.
"That's what he does, man," receiver Quincy Enunwa said. "He's good outside the pocket. We've got to keep finding more ways to get him doing that. When he was coming out of the draft, I think that was one of the best things he did in college."
After the Bills re-took the lead with a field goal, Darnold calmly led a nine-play, 61-yard touchdown drive in 1:14, highlighted by a 37-yard sideline dime to Anderson that set up the game-winning score.
Sunday's win likely won't save the coaching staff from being swept out of town. But it allowed fans to breathe a sigh of relief, reminding them the Jets finally found a franchise signal-caller.