Darnold sounds cold alarms that even the Vikings noticed

Darnold sounds cold alarms that even the Vikings noticed

On the kind of 39-degree, wind-chilled day Sam Darnold had never encountered on the West Coast, the rookie quarterback of the Jets looked and played Darn Cold.

Darnold (17-for-42, 206 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs) has offered precocious evidence he will be a pressure-proof quarterback, but on a day when his teammates were crumbling and stumbling all around him, they needed him to be a weather-proof quarterback against the Purple People-Eating Vikings, and three interceptions later, the Jets were Gone with the Wind, humbled 37-17 losers.

When ex-Jet Sheldon Richardson was asked for his impressions of Darnold, he said: “I really don’t have any.”

How come?

“Cause he threw interceptions,” Richardson said.

Did he look like a typical rookie quarterback?

“Yes,” Richardson said. “That’s about it.”

Except it wasn’t.

“He looked like he was cold, he looked like he was frustrated a little bit, was frustrated with play-calling, frustrated with his line a little bit. He was frustrated,” Richardson told The Post. “That’s what I can tell you. I don’t know if he’s good or bad off of that.”

Was it something you saw or heard or both?

“A little bit of both,” Richardson said.

This is a red flag in this regard: Darn Cold will like November and December around here even less.

Darnold is not one for excuses.

“The conditions are the conditions,” he said. “It wasn’t too windy out there, I didn’t think. I didn’t really struggle with it at all, in my opinion.”

It hardly helped that he didn’t have a running game (24 carries, 71 yards), was trying to get the ball to Andre Roberts rather than the sidelined Quincy Enunwa, couldn’t find Jermaine Kearse even once, endured sloppy shotgun snaps from Spencer Long that left him with one lost fumble and witnessed special-teams follies and his defense break in the second half.

In other words, Kirk Cousins brought the better team with him, and the Vikings brought the better quarterback, at least as of now.

Darnold struggled with his accuracy, overthrowing Robby Anderson on one bomb, underthrowing him on a garbage-time end-zone throw that floated into the wind and throwing behind Chris Herndon earlier in the fourth quarter on third-and-11.

Darnold enjoyed one burst of brilliance in the first quarter when, on successive plays, he hit Trenton Cannon down the left sideline with a perfect 35-yard pass, Anderson for 25 and Herndon for a 12-yard TD.

“I was hitting the open guys, reading the defense really well,” Darnold said.

It was fleeting. In the second and third quarters, Darnold was 2-for-14 for minus 1 yard. At a time when Gang Green held the fort, Darn Cold froze.

“They did a great job stopping the run, and when we were passing the ball, they did a great job covering guys,” Darnold said. “I just gotta find completions, and we gotta do a better job executing.”

His worst moment came when he threw into double coverage in the third quarter and was intercepted by Harrison Smith off a deflection by Xavier Rhodes. And a 17-7 game became a 20-7 game.

“I was just trying to fit it in there,” Darnold said. “Again, just kind of a bad read, in all honestly. Shouldn’t even have thrown it in the first place, but they made a great play.”

Todd Bowles: “You can’t force it like that … can’t make that mistake.”

Roberts’ 53-yard kickoff return positioned Darnold at the Minny 46. And this time, you couldn’t blame Darnold. Isaiah Crowell dropped a pass when wide open in the right flat. Eric Tomlinson dropped a third-and-12 pass and sure first down over the middle. Field goal.

“Obviously we’d like to connect on those, but at the same time, I gotta put it in the right spot,” Darnold said. “There were a lot of times where I was off target with a lot of throws.”

Down 27-17 with 8:48 left, Darnold was intercepted by Holton Hill. His third pick came on a pass that whistled through the hands of Charone Peake.

Darn-Cold quarterback, ice-cold receivers.

“I learned a lot this game,” Darnold said. “Just learned to continue to fight, it’s a four-quarter game. The first half, I thought I personally played bad, our offense wasn’t really getting into rhythm. … We just gotta execute, that’s what it comes down to, and we gotta do a better job of that.”

That’s the cold, hard truth.