Remember when Giants quarterback Daniel Jones wowed everyone in the NFL and tri-state area for engineering a game-winning drive against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his NFL career start two months ago with the help of Bucs kicker Matt Gay missing the game-winning field goal?
Seems like a few years ago from watching Jones now to that start.
On Monday night, he put on another underwhelming performance in what was a winnable game that turned out to be a Giants’ 37-18 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. He could not make the big plays in the second half at all. He completed the night 26 of 41 for 210 yards with a touchdown and three turnovers (an interception and two fumbles). He finished with a 27.0 passing rating.
The numbers says one thing, but the eyes says another.
Maybe Jones’ performance could be good enough for fantasy league, but it’s not good enough to win games in the National Football League.
Jones displayed three highlights of his night. The first happened when he started a 10-play, 56-yard touchdown that would set the Giants up to a 9-3 lead in the second quarter by running for 16 yards to the Cowboys’ 40. The second came when he threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Cody Latimer at the Cowboys’ 1, giving the Giants a 9-3 lead. Finally, he threw a 65-yard screen pass to Saquon Barkley that was good enough for the Giants running back to run to the Cowboys’ 11-yard line in the fourth quarter.
Other than that, he overthrew the ball often. He could not find his targets. He fumbled a couple of times that set the Giants back. He could not get his team to be on the field longer, and he could not get touchdowns.
Sure the Giants rookie quarterback put the Giants in the red zone, but he and his unit could only muster a touchdown and four field goals. No wonder Giants head coach Pat Shurmur knew deep down in his heart that his quarterback could not throw a touchdown pass in the Giants’ first drive of the game after they fumbled, which is why he took the points rather than have his quarterback learn in a trial-and-error situation.
The Cowboys could afford to go for field goals because they knew Jones was limited when it comes to throwing the ball. They thought they could get by mainly because Jones offered nothing that would scare them, and they were right.
The Giants are going to need more out of this quarterback if they are moving in the right direction heading to next season. Watching him, he keeps regressing every week. If he can’t throw touchdowns, what use is he? One can make a case that is more of an issue than his turnovers.
As bad as Tim Tebow looked at times, he threw touchdowns in tight games. That’s something Jones can’t even say right now, and there’s no proof he can do it outside of his NFL starting debut.
Eight interceptions and eight fumbles offer no confidence that Jones can be a sure thing as Giants quarterback. It remains to be seen if he can fix his 16 turnovers. It was a problem for him at Duke, which is why everyone thought selecting him was a reach.
Jones attempted to orchestrate a first down in the second quarter, but he fumbled the ball on a hit by Xavier Woods that Darian Thompson recovered to give the Cowboys the ball.
He threw an interception on a downfield throw with 25 seconds left in the first half that Woods returned 29 yards to the Giants’ 39-yard line that set up Brett Maher to kick a 52-yard field goal, giving the Cowboys a 13-12 lead at halftime.
On the second drive of the second half, Jones fumbled that would set up Maher to kick another field goal, extending the Cowboys’ lead to 16-12.
To cap of Jones’ night and maybe it was apropos considering the night he had, he lost a fumble in the final possession of his night that was returned by Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis for a 69-yard touchdown that would seal the Cowboys’ 37-18 victory.
So not only did Jones fail to get touchdowns in the red zone, but he contributed the Cowboys scoring points with all of his three turnovers.
He did more to lose the game than win it just like the games against the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals that turn out to be winnable just like the Cowboys game.
The bottom line is there’s nothing impressive about him in his last six games. He is basically Geno Smith. Puts decent numbers that often can be viewed by the eye of the beholder, but can’t win games on his own.
Despite anyone saying it’s just seven games, it’s not too much to ask for Jones to show potential that he can be that guy. He hasn’t even showed that. Even Eli Manning showed potential when he started in the middle of 2004 season despite him being awful.
The Giants wanted Manning to play this entire season for a reason. They knew Jones was not ready to start games despite Giants fans clamoring for him. Manning played so bad that the Giants had no choice, and Shurmur thought playing Jones would give him some time at the job.
Instead, Jones could cost the Giants head coach his job if he does not improve in the last seven games of the season.