Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

Thanks to overcoming an 18-point halftime deficit against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Daniel Jones has provided the New York Giants with a fresh narrative.

Jason Leach

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—Last Sunday at halftime, the New York Giants were down 28-10, lost superstar running back Saquon Barkley and were staring at 0-3 in the face.

All appeared to be lost and it seemed that the Giants were heading for another double-digit loss season.

But thanks to 22-year-old rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, the Giants rallied and pulled off the biggest win in the Pat Shurmur era by defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 32-31.

Jones was superb in his NFL debut, completing 23 of 36 passes for 336 yards, threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more. More importantly, he remained poised after taking some vicious hits, and he brought an energy and vigor to the offense which had been sorely missing.

The Giants did receive some good fortune when Bucs kicker Matt Gay missed a 34-yard field goal as time expired. Of course, NFL teams never need to apologize for a fortunate break and Big Blue was desperate for a win.

One win in the NFL can quickly change the narrative and outlook of a team. Although the Giants have a long way to go before they’re considered contenders, the outlook on the 2019 season looks vastly different than it did at halftime against the Buccaneers.

The Giants will face the winless Washington Redskins, who have been outscored 94-63 in their three games this season. Despite the fact that the Giants defense is still a major concern, especially their secondary, experts have to like the Giants chances of defeating the Redskins and getting to .500.

Normally, you wouldn’t give a storied franchise such as the Giants credit for getting to .500, but considering they haven’t been at or above .500 heading into October since 2016, and are 8-24 over the last two seasons, such a high watermark is nice.

After Jones had about as good as an NFL debut as one could have, further production and camaraderie via the offense has to be expected.

Not only did the Giants score more points against the Bucs than they did in the first two games combined, but they were also vastly better converting third downs. Against the Bucs, they converted 6 of 13 third-down attempts. Over the previous two weeks, they converted just 5 of 23.

Perhaps the main reason for the improvement in the Giants offensive efficiency is Jones’s ability to make plays with his legs, which opens up the offense.

The Giants will need for Jones to continue to make plays with his legs, especially with Barkley out the next four-to-eight weeks with a high ankle sprain.

But the Giants mounted their second-half comeback against Tampa without Barkley. So, their confidence shouldn’t wane since they’ve shown they can win without Barkley.

While the Giants will be without Barkley for the next month or two, their receiving corps will get some of their playmakers back to help with the progression of Jones. They’re hopeful Cody Latimer will play against the Redskins and then they’ll have Golden Tate back for their Week 5 matchup against the Vikings after serving a four-game suspension.

As we stated previously, the Giants still have ways to go before they’re considered contenders, and Jones will make some rookie mistakes. But you can start to feel that they’re on the right path towards regaining credibility as a franchise, and this season doesn’t carry the doom-and-gloom feel it once did.

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