Saquon Barkley on crutches. An 18-point halftime deficit. Shaq Barrett destroying Nate Solder and the New York Giants offensive line. None of that stopped rookie quarterback Daniel Jones as he led the Giants to an inspired, unexpected come-from-behind 32-31 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Jones completed the comeback with a 7-yard scramble up the middle on 4th-and-5 for a touchdown to give the Giants their first lead with 1:16 left.
“They were playing some kind of man and it just opened up, I saw grass and took it,” Jones said of the game-winning run. “A fun finish to it, exciting last drive. Thought we did a good job getting people open and protecting. It was a fun finish.
”I think this is an awesome win, fun to be a part of.”
Jones finished his first NFL start 23 of 36 for 336 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more. In all, he ran four times for 28 yards.
“It was his first outing, he had a significant impact on helping us win the game. Now, we’re going to see. We’re looking for consistency, so we’re looking for him to not be heroic but just be the best Daniel Jones he can be,” said head coach Pat Shurmur. “Now he’s going to go through the process of trying to get his body back and get ready to play Washington and we’ll help guide him through it. We’re very confident, though, about what we’ve seen. He keeps passing the tests in our mind. Until this afternoon he hadn’t played in a regular season NFL game and maybe I’m seeing it wrong, but he didn’t disappoint.”
The Buccaneers had a chance to win, but placekicker Matt Gay pushed a game-ending 34-yard field goal wide to the right. Gay also missed one extra point and had another blocked.
Rhett Ellison: “Watching the ref wave his arms no good, I was like wait a second, Luck went our way for once? I’m still processing it.” #Giants— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) September 22, 2019
The Giants allowed scores on all six Tampa Bay possessions in the first half and went to the locker room trailing, 28-10.
Things looked bleak for the Giants beginning the third quarter.
A 75-yard catch-and-run by Evan Engram and an eight-play, 80-yard drive culminating with a 7-yard pass from Daniel Jones to Sterling Shepard brought the Giants within three points, 28-25, with 8:21 left in the third quarter.
Jones completed his first five passes on the eventual game-winning drive. On fourth down the middle of the field opened up with the Bucs in man-to-man coverage and Jones ran up the middle untouched for the eventual game-winning score.
“You can start to see and as you get to appreciate him as a player – there’s plenty of things he needs to do better – but there’s certain things I knew about this kid when we drafted him. He was tough, he was competitive, and in my opinion he’s a winner,” Shurmur said of Jones. “Now the rest of it, is just pure quarterback stuff and because of those first three things, that’s why he’s going have a chance moving forward.”
Saquon Barkley injured
Saquon Barkley was helped to the locker room late in the first half after catching a 6-yard pass from Daniel Jones. Barkley was ruled out and was seen on the sidelines in the second half on crutches and wearing a walking boot on his right foot. [Full story]
Linebacker Alec Ogletree injured his left hamstring after running back a ball that was ultimately ruled an incomplete pass rather than a fumble. He did not return.
Linebacker Tae Davis left the game in the fourth quarter and was being evaluated for a possible concussion.
The Giants return to MetLife Stadium next week to host the Washington Redskins on Sunday. Game time is 1 p.m.