Daniel Jones finally had all of his weapons healthy…but not for long in the New York Giants’ Week 2 loss to the Chicago Bears.
Fifteen games. That’s how long it took for New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones to finally play will each of his top five offensive weapons on the field. For each game Jones had played in up until Sunday’s matchup with the Bears, at least one of Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram was sidelined.
Thus, optimism surrounded the Giants heading into their Week 2 contest. The question of what Jones could be able to do with each of his top offensive weapons healthy was finally going to receiver an answer…until it essentially didn’t.
By the second quarter, the Giants had lost Barkley for the game due to a knee injury. By the second half, they had lost Shepard due to a toe injury.
After the game, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Barkley suffered a torn ACL, based on manual tests.
#Giants RB Saquon Barkley suffered an ACL tear, based on the manual tests and initial diagnosis, source said. He’ll have an MRI to tell the full story, but the belief is the star is done for the season. Coach Joe Judge said they are holding out hope.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 20, 2020
So now, Jones may not play with all of his top weapons again until the 2021 campaign. This means we may not see Jones’ full potential as an NFL quarterback for another year, especially when you take into consideration how the offensive line is still below average.
But just focusing on Sunday, the aforementioned issues led to offensive struggles. Nonetheless, the finger can’t be pointed toward the quarterback.
We saw him in Chicago, amid injuries to his starting running back and wide receiver, still stand tall and fight until the final whistle. What was once a 17-0 game in favor of Chicago turned into a 17-13 game in the second half, with Jones leading an impressive drive that ended with a Dion Lewis touchdown run in the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Working with reserve receivers C.J. Board and Damion Ratley, along with just two running backs in Lewis and Elijhaa Penny (the latter being more of a fullback), Jones was still able to undergo an impressive second half against a tough Bears defense, despite the fact that the final drive didn’t lead to a game-winning score.
Throwing for 241 yards on 25-of-40 passing (62.5% completion percentage), Jones did what he could with the limited amount of assistance he possessed at his disposal. He did succumb to a pair of turnovers — just like last week — but the interception looked to be partly due to Engram, the intended receiver, slipping on the Kentucky Bluegrass of Soldier Field.
The one fumble, however, was an issue. The offensive line crumbled on that very play, allowing Bears edge rusher Robert Quinn to reach Jones and knock the ball out of his hand. Regardless, the second-year quarterback definitely needs to sense that and tuck the ball away. It wasn’t a great play, there’s no denying that.
But the moral of the story is this: it’s easy to point fingers at the quarterback, but that shouldn’t be done in this scenario. The Giants’ 17-13 loss to the Bears on Sunday — their second consecutive defeat to begin the year — wasn’t an outcome that occurred because of Jones. He did what he could without much help, a tough situation for any quarterback in this league, let alone one in his second season.