There wasn’t a single Jets player who didn’t suffer in his own way during the three games Sam Darnold missed with mononucleosis.
The return of the quarterback last week touched everyone on the team in a positive way, as evidenced by Sunday’s upset victory over the Cowboys. Perhaps no player benefits more from Darnold’s return than Jamison Crowder.
You need only to do the math to properly ascertain what Darnold means to Crowder, the fifth-year receiver who’s in his first with the team after spending his first four with the Redskins.
In two games with Darnold, Crowder has 20 catches on 26 targets for 197 yards combined. In the three games Darnold missed, Crowder totaled eight catches for 75 yards. Crowder had 14 receptions for 99 yards in his Jets debut, the season-opening loss to the Bills. He had six catches for 98 yards against the Cowboys.
If you were to average out Crowder’s output with Darnold at quarterback and project that in a 16-game season, he’d produce 160 receptions for 1,970 yards and he’d be playing in the Pro Bowl.
“The numbers,’’ fellow receiver Robby Anderson said Wednesday, “speak for themselves.’’
What the numbers speak for is the uncanny chemistry Crowder has developed with Darnold in such a short period of time.
“It might not always be the first read in the progression, but when things break down, he seems to find him,’’ coach Adam Gase said Wednesday. “It’s a good thing for us that they’ve developed that kind of trust and chemistry. For whatever reason, Jamison just seems to be in the right place at the right time a lot of times.’’
Crowder is Darnold’s lifeline, his phone-a-friend. When Darnold is in trouble, under duress, Crowder is there for him, almost without fail. As much as Darnold pads Crowder’s stats, Crowder saves Darnold’s hide when trouble lurks. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
“Jamison has got such a knack to get open when things break down,’’ Darnold told The Post on Wednesday. “A lot of that you can’t really coach. He does a lot of things out there that are just baller moves. I feel like when I scramble and get out of the pocket or something breaks down, I can always count on him to be there. He’s just one of those players.’’
The Patriots, who the Jets will face Monday night at MetLife Stadium, have a player in Julian Edelman who does the same for quarterback Tom Brady, and he does it as well as anyone who’s ever run a route as a slot receiver.
And, as a compliment to Crowder, a number of Jets players made favorable comparisons between Crowder and Edelman.
“There’s definitely similarities between them — those little slot dudes who are super-smart and savvy with how they get open,’’ Darnold said.
“You’re talking about two really smart guys who understand where the holes and the weaknesses are in the defense and know what spots to get open,’’ Jets tight end Ryan Griffin said.
“When you think about both of them, you see a different amount of heart and a different gear on the field,’’ linebacker Brandon Copeland said. “When you have a guy like Jamison, there’s no doubt what you’re getting play in and play out.’’
Copeland marveled at Crowder’s “knack for getting open.”
“How do I say this? I’m not trying to call him short,” Copeland said, “but he’s hard to find. When he gets the ball, he’s turning and going for more yardage. That’s a gift that he has. Some receivers catch the ball and they’re getting down. But h… He’s finding ways to turn a 10-yard catch into a 15-yard catch.’’
The Jets defensive backs who go up against Crowder in practice are well aware of what he brings to Darnold and the offense.
“He’s a smart, savvy vet who’s a tough matchup for slot corners … all corners,’’ cornerback Trumaine Johnson said.
“He ain’t the fastest, but he runs smooth, good routes,’’ cornerback Darryl Roberts said. “He’s consistent, he’s got good hands, he’s a hard worker and it shows. And, he’s got good chemistry with the quarterback.’’
Brian Poole, the Jets nickel corner who covers the opposing slot receivers, spoke of Crowder and Darnold having “a real good thing going, which comes from putting a lot of time in.’’
“They’ve got some good chemistry,’’ Poole said. “You’ve got to put the time in. There ain’t not shortcut to success. You’ve got to take the stairs. There ain’t no elevator to that. You put the time in and those are the results you get.’’
As Robby Anderson said: The numbers speak for themselves.