The Jets had played an National Football League record 73 games, dating to 2013, without a defensive TD before Lee returned one of his two interceptions 36 yards for a score in the third.
The Jets' five interceptions are the most they had as a team in a game since 1999.
When Darnold ran around and threw late across the field into the anticipating arms of Lions defensive back Quandre Diggs and saw it turn into a pick six in a blink, the scorching reactions came just as fast.
"He didn't flinch", Jets coach Todd Bowles said. They scored touchdowns on an interception return and a punt return in a 31-point third quarter. The Jets intercepted Matthew Stafford four times in a dismal debut for new Lions coach Matt Patricia.
Stafford was out of rhythm nearly the entire game, as he completed only 27 of 46 passes for 286 yards.
Southgate unwilling to commit to England beyond Euro 2020
Spain celebrate after beating England in their UEFA Nations League fixture. 'I've never had any doubts with De Gea, ' said the Spain boss.
What do you expect from Sam Darnold in his first start? He was also the first quarterback to win his first start by 31 or more points since Tom Brady in 2001, per ESPN Stats & Info.
On a play-action pass, Darnold had tried to evade a Lions pass rusher and scrambled to his right, before attempting to loft a pass to running back Bilal Powell out of the backfield. Darnold made the mistake of throwing back across the field on the play, which was designed for him to roll right.
If Darnold himself isn't getting the job done, then the Jets' running backfield just might.
The Jets dominated in all phases. Everything the Jets have done since the end of last season has indicated that ownership and the front office understands the future is what's important. On third-and-2 from the Lions' 41, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates finally gave Darnold a shot to throw the deep ball and it worked.
Crowell scored a 6-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7 with 4:20 remaining in the first quarter, and the Jets turned a Morris Claiborne interception into a 35-yard Jacob Myers field goal. NY completely buried the Lions in Detroit on Monday Night Football, and the exact moment it ended can be traced back to the third quarter.