That’s all Joe Judge asked of Daniel Jones.
And then Jones faked the handoff to Wayne Gallman and was off to the races, ahead of the field, Eagles chasing futilely, Nick Gates thrusting his arm in the air …
Then, Jones began stumbling, around the 20, and tumbled forward.
It was an 80-yard trip in all that gave him first-and-goal at the 8, and soon Gallman was leaping over the pile and it was Giants 14, Eagles 10.
Then, after Doug Pederson went for it fourth-and-goal at the 3, and Logan Ryan got away with one on a rainbow ruled incomplete for 6-foot-5 Hakeem Butler.
Then, apologies to John Elway:
The Drive: 97 yards, capped by Jones’ 2-yard third-and-goal TD pass to Sterling Shepard.
Jones had calmly dug the Giants from out of the shadow of his goal line. He ducked under Vinny Curry and flipped one to Wayne Gallman for 7 yards. You take a shot downfield for Golden Tate, and that’s how you can get a pass interference penalty on Cra’Von LeBlanc. A surgical pass over the middle for Gallman. A third-and-9 pass to Shepard for the first down.
Giants 21, Eagles 10.
The defense had been heroic, until now, and a 59-yard Wentz bomb to John Hightower positioned him to cut the deficit to 21-16.
Now Jones was asked to make one more play, engineer one more drive.
And Jones launched one softly downfield to where Evan Engram was past the safety, the perfect pass at the perfect time to punctuate an imperfect victory over the Eagles.
And Engram let it slip off his fingertips.
And when Carson Wentz drove the Eagles into the end zone with an 18-yard TD strike to Boston Scott over Jabrill Peppers to drive a stake into the Giants’ hearts with 40 seconds left, it was Eagles 22, Giants 21.
Jones, with no timeouts left, was sacked and stripped by Daniel Graham and lost another fumble.
The Giants had unshackled Jones, took the handcuffs off him, let him try to be the Daniel Jones everyone so desperately wants to and needs to see and expected to see at the start of the season.
Judge was playing to win this one in front of his cheering family up in the suite and Lansdale Catholic High School friends at The Linc and gave the green light to offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to scrap the stodgy, unimaginative game plan they have trotted out too often with Wentz on the other side.
Poor Jones had no running game early to lean on. He didn’t complete a pass to Darius Slayton until early in the third quarter. He found himself with third-and-long and third-and-long on his first two series of the second quarter.
So he made one play with his legs.
Engineered one drive with his arm.
Had what would have been the winning pass dropped.
There have been all these well-chronicled protection issues, and the losses of Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard, and a new offensive system for Jones to learn during a pandemic. But there is a division up for grabs that nobody seems to want to win, and the Giants have absolutely no chance to win it unless Jones starts making that elusive second-year leap at a time when rookies Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert have made it look so easy.
That quarterback-friendly offense Garrett was supposed to bring with him had been quarterback-unfriendly. And quarterback-unfriendly isn’t going to cut it.
Jones had Shepard back for this one, and they let him throw on first down, and a 29-yard strike was rendered moot when revolving door Andrew Thomas was beaten by Derek Barnett for a 10-yard sack to kill the drive.
It was 7-0 for the Eagles when Jones stood tall in the pocket and fired a rocket that went for a 39-yard TD when Forgotten Man Tate wanted the ball more than LeBlanc at the 10.
TD pass No. 4 for Daniel Jones.
But then, third-and-7 at the Philly 47, Jones put too much mustard on a quick pass underneath that deflected off Engram’s right hand and was intercepted by Jalen Mills. It gave Jones a turnover in a league-high eight straight games.
Interception No. 7 for Daniel Jones.
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