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Daniel Jones performs like franchise QB in Giants’ upset over Vikings


The New York Giants at all times believed that Daniel Jones was “good”. What they didn’t know — what they couldn’t know — was whether or not he was ok. On Sunday, after 4 years of uncertainty, they wanted their franchise quarterback to be ok to win within the playoffs, to hold them when needed. Not each QB can.

Consider that simply the most recent in a string of questions that Jones has answered late on this season — a season that was all about figuring out if he actually was the Giants’ quarterback of the long run. Yes, he was ok to win in his postseason debut, even carrying the Giants to their first playoff victory in 11 years.

In reality, Jones was greater than good towards the Vikings. He was nice.

“I would say I’m impressed, but I’m not shocked,” Giants operating again Saquon Barkley mentioned after Jones led the Giants to a 31-24 win at Minnesota within the wild-card spherical. “He’s been doing it all year, man. He’s a special player.”

‘Daniel Jones performed the sport of his life’

'Daniel Jones played the game of his life'

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen discuss in regards to the superb sport the New York Giants bought from their massive gamers, together with Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.

Actually, the 24-year-old Jones had by no means executed it fairly like this at any level throughout his up-and-down profession. He accomplished 24 of 35 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns towards the Vikings, and he stored them off steadiness by operating a career-high 17 instances for 78 yards, too (although the final three runs had been victory formation kneels). He confirmed a outstanding knack for realizing when to go and when to throw. He by no means missed when one in every of his unheralded receivers bought open. And after they didn’t, he hit them with bullets, giving them an opportunity to make catches even when defenders had been on their backs.

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Most importantly, he did what franchise quarterbacks are imagined to do — he led the Giants and their normally anemic offense to 4 touchdowns and a subject purpose on seven drives. And he ought to have had greater than that. Jones ran for a landing on the sphere purpose drive, solely to see it worn out by an unlawful shift penalty on rookie tight finish Daniel Bellinger. On the Giants’ penultimate drive — the one earlier than they bought into victory formation —they punted solely due to Darius Slayton’s horrible third-down drop.

“He played good,” Giants coach Brian Daboll mentioned of Jones in his sometimes understated method. “Yeah, he played good. Winning football.”

Told that perhaps he was underselling his quarterback’s efficiency only a bit, Daboll mentioned, “Isn’t ‘good’ a good adjective to use?”

“I’m not a writer. I’m just a coach,” he added. “I’ve mentioned all of it 12 months, Daniel’s been good for us. He continues to be good for us. He performed an excellent sport. I‘m proud of him.”

Much as Daboll wanted to paint this as business as usual for Jones, it really was anything but. He has definitely played better than normal over his past few games — most notably his 334-yard passing performance at Minnesota on Christmas Eve. But he’s by no means fairly been this harmful and productive as a two-way menace. He ran for 91 yards in a win over the Colts two weeks in the past, however solely handed for 177. In reality, since Thanksgiving, he’s solely topped 200 passing yards as soon as and 70 dashing yards twice.

Yet within the largest sport of Jones’ profession, Daboll determined to place the ball within the palms of his franchise quarterback — the one whom the Giants are anticipated to signal to an infinite contract someday within the subsequent few months. Barkley, who in all probability figured to be New York’s go-to participant this weekend, had a heck of a sport, too, with 109 whole yards. But he was solely requested to run 9 instances and was solely focused on six passes.

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Barkley was solely a supporting participant Sunday. Jones was the lead. This sport, each by design and by his efficiency, belonged to him. And he did what nice quarterbacks do. He even led the Giants to a fourth-quarter landing, placing them within the lead for good, finishing 4 massive passes of 10 yards or extra on the drive and selecting up a primary down on a gutsy, fourth-and-1 sneak from the Minnesota 7.

He did all of it.

“Oh man, he was awesome,” receiver Isaiah Hodgins mentioned. “He led us. He’s the field general. I’m just happy to be a part of this club.”

“He played great,” added edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux. “He never flinched.”

The fact, as Daboll tried to level out, is Jones isn’t the one one who didn’t flinch. The Giants’ offensive line was terrific, giving Jones on a regular basis and holes he wanted to run the offense. Hodgins, essentially the most unheralded of the Giants’ unheralded receivers, had eight catches for 105 yards and a landing. The Giants’ protection turned All-Pro receiver Justin Jefferson right into a bystander, with seven catches for simply 47 yards, and stopped the Vikings on two key drives within the ultimate six-and-a-half minutes to place the sport away.

This complete workforce of overachievers got here collectively and gave their greatest efficiency of the season, organising a rematch within the divisional spherical subsequent Saturday in Philadelphia, towards an Eagles workforce that has already overwhelmed New York twice. All the Giants deserve loads of credit score for getting so far. They all helped with Sunday’s victory.

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But that is nonetheless a quarterback-driven league. And Jones confirmed what the Giants are able to after they get a particular efficiency from their signal-caller.

“I think we’ve had some of our better games recently,” Jones mentioned. “We’ve found some stuff that works for us. We’ll keep doing it.”

Or at the very least they’ll attempt. It gained’t be straightforward towards an Eagles protection that ranked third general, main the league with an absurd 70 sacks. Jones confronted them as soon as this season, a 48-22 loss on Dec. 11. He threw for 169 yards and ran for 26.

So who is aware of if this sport towards the Vikings was the beginning of one thing massive for Jones? Maybe it’ll kick off a magical, surprising run by the playoffs. Or perhaps it’s only a signal that he has the poise and skill to do it once more later in his profession.

But at the very least now the Giants know he can do it, that they will lean on him in an enormous second, that he can carry them on an enormous stage. A workforce can’t change into an actual Super Bowl contender with out a quarterback who can do this.

And realizing they’ve it isn’t only a good feeling for the Giants. It’s the very best feeling a franchise can have.

Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports, masking the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the earlier six years masking the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and earlier than that, 16 years masking the Giants and the NFL for the New York Daily News. Follow him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.

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