“Not good enough.”
In the past two weeks, Jones provided a jolt to the Giants offense that helped lead them to two straight wins. But the streak ended at two today as the rookie posted his worst numbers to date in the Giants 28-10 loss Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.
Jones was 21 of 38 for 182 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was ineffective in the red zone and overthrew two balls to wide receiver Sterling Shepard that could have changed the momentum of the game – one in the first quarter and the second when the Giants were trailing 18-10 and Jones threw the ball too high, forcing Shepard out-of-bounds.
“Two big missed opportunities,” Jones said. “I think when you play a good defense like Minnesota you need to convert those. I will certainly look at those, but I have to be better in those situations and we have to take advantage of those.”
For Jones, the game was a collection of missed opportunities, with the pass to Shepard being one of the most difficult to swallow. The pressure the Minnesota defense created meant that Jones was hit more and he had less room to run.
But Jones is not making excuses.
“Maybe there wasn’t as much space at times, but I think that’s going to happen any game, and as long as you are creating opportunities, you need to be able to convert those,” Jones said. “We didn’t do that. I didn’t do that. That’s why we lost.”
Moving forward, Jones said that he does not think the team needs to rethink its strategy or game plan, but instead must focus on execution.
“We’re aware enough,” Jones said. “We know what we need to do. It’s just about doing it and making sure we are doing it every single play we are out there.”
Jones is the first person to take blame for the team’s mistakes, but head coach Pat Shurmur once again highlighted the rookie’s toughness and poise.
“He made some good throws under duress at times,” Shurmur said. Then there were a couple he was just off on. The one that comes to mind is the Shep (Sterling Shepard) throw in the end zone. There are situations where I wish I could’ve given him better plays. But I thought he battled, and that’s why he’s going to be a good player for us for a long time.”
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen started his media scrum after the game by echoing Shurmur’s sentiments on Jones.
“I want to give a shout out to the rook,” Griffen said. “He’s doing really good. He’s shown courage. He’s a good player, so I see good things happening for him in the future.”
Though Jones said that it is never a good feeling to lose, he demonstrated that poise that Shurmur and Griffen mentioned throughout the course of the game. He remained calm in the pocket and he was able to hold onto the football after being hit. Jones takes full responsibility for the loss though, as the Giants now drop to 2-3 on the season.
“I have to be better,” Jones said. “I thought we created a lot of opportunities for ourselves to make plays and we didn’t make them. You’re not going to win if you can’t convert those opportunities.”
Jones will have to have a short memory though as the Giants play the undefeated New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Thursday Night Football.
“We are looking forward to the quick turn around and the fact that we get to play four days from now,” Jones said. “It gives us a chance to get back out there and correct some of the things we need to correct.”