Darnold completed 23 of 32 passes for 338 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the 24-22 triumph Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets (1-4) beat the Cowboys (3-3) despite being out-gained in total yardage, converting 20 percent of their third downs and losing the time of possession battle.
"It felt good out there," said Darnold, who hadn't played since Sept. 8. "It was good to hear the fans roar again and be out there on the field with my teammates. There's no better feeling.
"When you're out for so long like I was you realize that this game is a privilege to play. It was just good to be back out there."
The Jets got a 2-yard rushing score from Le'Veon Bell in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead before Brett Maher hit a 50-yard field goal for the Cowboys. Darnold hit wide receiver Robby Anderson with a 92-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter for a 14-3 advantage. The Jets quarterback threw another touchdown pass to Ryan Griffin on his next drive, pushing the advantage to 21-3. Maher hit another field goal on the final drive of the first have to give the Cowboys six points at the break.
The Cowboys attempted a second-half comeback but fell just short during the rally. Maher made the score 21-9 with a 32-yard field goal on the first drive of the second half. Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott had a 5-yard rushing score in the fourth quarter to get Dallas within five points of tying the game. Sam Ficken answered with a 38-yard field goal for the Jets on the next drive.
Dallas marched down the field with a 10-play, 45-yard drive on the following possession. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott scored on a 4-yard rushing touchdown to end the drive, before throwing an incomplete pass on a two-point conversion, failing to tie the game.
"I was just glad we finished the game," Jets coach Adam Gase said. "When you look at the way the first game went and the last three games, and just some of the things these guys have been through before I was even here. To win it the way we had to win it, where they score a touchdown and we had to stop a two-point conversion. The offense had to drive down the field and answer a score and we got three, we converted the field goal.
"All of the little things that had to happen in the fourth quarter. That's the way we had to win. Our guys needed that."
Prescott completed 28 of 40 passes for 277 yards in the loss. Elliott had 105 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries for the Cowboys. Anderson went off for five catches, 125 yards and a touchdown for the Jets.
"I think the biggest thing is we just have to get back to work and look at what happened today," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "I'm sure there were some good things in the game we can build on. There are some other things that we certainly have to address."