Monday night’s game was a microcosm of Daniel Jones‘ two-year tenure as the Giants‘ starting quarterback. While he had his moments against the Buccaneers‘ talented defense, Jones’ two second half interceptions were ultimately the difference in the Giants’ 25-23 loss.
Despite another roller coaster performance from his quarterback, Giants first year coach Joe Judge ended any speculation that a quarterback change may be coming in New York.
“Daniel is our quarterback, clearly put,” Judge said, via Bruce Beck of WNBC. “He made a lot of big plays in our last drive. I like the way Daniel’s fighting right now.”
While Judge’s counterpart on Monday night, Bruce Arians, agreed with him as it relates to some of the big plays Jones made against Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers’ coach also felt like the Giants’ quarterback gave the game away with his two interceptions. For the game, Jones went 25 of 41 for 256 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked three times, including once by former Giant Jason Pierre-Paul, who also tallied seven tackles and two tackles for loss.
“The young quarterback, he’s still trying to do too much, and when you’re in the grasp with those guys, that cost them basically the ball game when he threw those two picks. But God bless him, he is hard to handle and he thinks he can make every play.”
Jones’ first interception, an ill-advised throw that was corralled by Carlton Davis, led to Ryan Succop’s third field goal of the night. Jones, after leading the Giants on their third scoring drive, was under duress before throwing another interception, this one going to Buccaneers defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting. The pick set up Tampa Bay’s game-winning score, as Tom Brady connected with 9:08 left.
Arians was impressed with what he saw from Jones on the Giants’ final drive. On two separate fourth downs, Jones evaded the Buccaneers’ pass rush before finding his receivers to convert first downs. Three plays after Jones’ second fourth down conversion, a 20-yard completion to Darius Slayton on 4th-and-20, Jones hit Golden Tate on an 18-yard touchdown pass with 28 seconds left. The comeback fell short, however, when Jones’ pass to Dion Lewis on New York’s two-point attempt was knocked away by rookie defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr.
“We lost contain on one, let him get out of the pocket,” Arians said of Jones’ first fourth down conversion on the drive, a 12-yard completion to Sterling Shepard on 4th-and-five. “And the other one, same thing. We had him hemmed up, and he did both times. We had good rush, we just didn’t stay disciplined enough.”
Despite his flaws, Judge clearly sees enough upside in Jones to keep him as the Giants’ starter, as New York, believe it or not, is still in striking distance of the other teams in the NFC East despite their 1-7 record.