The Daniel Jones-New York Giants era began with a “wow” and a “wide right,” a familiar two-word phrase that’ll never be forgotten.
All looked bleak for the New York Giants at halftime. They were down 28-10, the defense allowed the Buccaneers to score points on all six of the first-half possessions, and, worst of all, their superstar running back, Saquon Barkley, was out for the remainder of the game with an ankle injury.
But fear not, as Daniel Jones, making his first NFL start, sparked a second-half comeback for the debut ages. The Giants picked up their first win on the season by defeating the (1-2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 32-31.
The comeback began on the Giants first offensive play of the second half as Jones connected with tight end Evan Engram for a 75-yard touchdown. Then they converted on a two-point conversion on a pass from Jones to Sterling Shepard to cut the score to 28-18.
After the defense forced the Buccaneers to punt on the following possession, Jones led an eight-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a seven-yard touchdown pass to Shepard to trim the deficit to 28-25.
The two teams would trade punts on the next four possessions before the Giants defense got their first interception of the season. Rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly picked off Jameis Winston at the Giants 26-yard line and returned it to the Giants 39 yard line.
The momentum fueled by Connelly’s interception was short-lived, as just plays later, Shaquil Barrett sacked Jones and forced a fumble that was recovered by Rakeem Nunez-Roches at the Giants 42-yard line.
Eight plays later, the Bucs would extend their lead to 31-25 on a Matt Gay 23-yard field goal with six minutes remaining in the game. Both teams would go three and out on the following two possessions setting up a dramatic finished as the Giants got the ball on their 25-yard line with 3:16 remaining in the game.
Jones drove the Giants 75 yards on eight plays and took matters into his own hands when he scored his second rushing touchdown of the game from seven yards out to put Big Blue up 32-31 with 1:16 remaining.
Thanks to a Winston 44-yard bomb to receiver Mike Evans, the Bucs had the ball at the Giants 16-yard line, setting up a potential game-winning 34 field goal attempt by Gay with four seconds remaining.
But the kick was wide right and the Giants came away with a hard-fought come from behind win.
Jones was remarkable in his NFL debut, completing 23-36 passes for 336 yards and two scores. He, of course, also ran in two touchdowns on the ground as well.
More importantly, he showed poise and accuracy throughout the game, proving that the success he achieved in the preseason was no fluke.
Winning can cure anything in the NFL and a team that was thought to be heading towards another double-digit loss season suddenly has a bright future with their 22-year-old quarterback leading the charge.
As far as debuts go, it doesn’t get any better than this. The Daniel Jones era is off to a “wow” start and it coincides with a “wide right,” a term that’ll never be forgotten in New York Giants history.
Coincidence? Only time will tell.