By Ollie Hewitt – New York Giants Writer
DANNY DIMES IS HERE BABY, and he couldn’t have had a much start to life in the NFL. Producing some real moments of magic on his way to securing a great comeback win for the Giants and their first of the season, but he did not do it all by himself.
Jones threw for 23/36, 336 yards, 2 touchdowns and a passer rating of 112.7. Jones also used his feet to help himself to 28 yards and 2 touchdowns on 4 carries; making him the first rookie since 1970 to have 300 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, and 2 rushing touchdowns.
Already displaying the athleticism that caught Dave Gettleman’s eye. I must admit I was on the same side as most Giants fans come the decision to take Jones 6th overall, thinking that he was a 3rd round talent and we should’ve taken Haskins or Allen. But if DJ is able to keep up this form on a regular basis then I will be more than happy to be proven wrong. Jones showed he had what it took to win the game with clutch plays, with a 2-pt conversion to Sterling Shepard and later running in the game-winning touchdown on 4th down.
The Giants got off to a slow start, however, with Jameis Winston connecting with Mike Evans for 3 touchdowns in the first half. Shaking off any doubts that he was still suffering from the illness that hampered him in the first two weeks, the Buccaneers also scored three field goals in the first half meaning that they scored on all of their drives in the first half. Jones did not quite have the same level of success during his first half, putting up 10 points from a 36-yard field goal and a 7-yard run from Jones as he squeezed into the corner of the end zone.
Going into the half with the score at 28-10 I was worried that our Bucs writer Tom’s prediction of 31-10 was going to end up coming true, Janoris Jenkins was being shredded by Mike Evans whenever the ball was thrown in their direction, and the Giants unable to force a punt from the Bucs offense as of yet the momentum for the game was undeniably against the Giants. Something must have happened at half-time which seemed to bring out a different Giants team in the second half.
A short pass from Jones to Engram was taken 75-yards as Engram showed off his speed that makes him one of the league’s top tight-ends to take it all the way to the house on the first play after the kickoff, followed by a well-read pass to Shepard for a 2-pt conversion. Jones showed his nerve to wait for someone to get open as opposed to trying to force it into a gap, bringing the Giants within 10 points. This seemed to spark some life into the Giants defense as after an 18-yard OJ Howard catch they were able to force the Bucs to punt for the first time in the game.
However, the man who can’t keep his mouth shut about how bad everyone else is, Janoris Jenkins, should’ve had an interception as he jumped the route of his receiver when he got the chance to cover someone other than Mike Evans. Jenkins would’ve had a clear run for a pick 6 had he not dropped the ball like he dropped his defensive line in hot water earlier in the week.
Jones was able to capitalize on the momentum of the defensive stop, however, driving back down the field before placing the ball perfectly for a touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard. This was a sensational turnaround from the Giants to bring it back to a one score game less than halfway through the third quarter after being down by 18 coming out of half time. This was then followed by 4 successive punts by both teams combined, as both defensive lines stepped up and combined for 5 sacks off of these 4 drives.
Shaquil Barrett was even more dominant in this game than last week when he was the NFC defensive player of the week, as he was allowed to go up against the 31-year-old Nate Solder one-on-one for the majority of the game. As if the Giants didn’t watch any of the Bucs defensive plays from the first two weeks, Barrett had 4 of the Bucs 5 sacks in this game and now has 8 of their 9 on the season.
The Giants pass rush stepped up as well though, Jenkins’ comments seemed to motivate them as they managed 4 sacks and 4 tackles for loss. Dexter Lawrence II stood out for me as he picked up his first NFL sack as well as blocking the Buccaneers second extra point attempt, which proved to be vital in the 1 point victory.
The next drive for the Buccaneers ended with an interception to Ryan Connelly, who would not have been in the game had it not been for Alec Ogletree’s hamstring injury during the first half, although Connelly would have been crucified had he dropped the ball given Jemeis Winston couldn’t have presented it any better to him. This was on an attempted pass to 6ft 5inch Mike Evans, who Winston somehow managed to overthrow, the Bucs were able to get the ball straight back though as Barrett was able to strip Jones of the ball.
Winston drove the Bucs down the field for a 23-yard field goal to give them a 6-point lead with 6 minutes remaining, there would be one more punt from both offenses before the real excitement ensued.
Jones dragged the Giants offense back down the field once more on a 2 minute, 8-play, 75-yard drive ending in another 7-yard touchdown run for the man himself, with the extra point to give the Giants a 1-point lead with 1:16 on the clock for Winston to potentially lead the Bucs on a game-winning drive.
He almost did thanks to James Bettcher deciding it was a good idea to put Mike Evans in one-on-one coverage with Janoris Jenkins because apparently 146 yards and 3 touchdowns weren’t enough to allow him for the game, so a 44-yard pass out, the Bucs in the perfect position to kick a game-winning field goal.
It was at this point that I left the room in frustration at how the Giants defense had cost Daniel Jones a great comeback win on his debut, however, when I came back into the room, I saw Scott Hanson talking about how Jones had just won his first game. So, that’ll teach me to give up on a game before the final whistle!
After missing two extra-point kicks and what would’ve been the game-winning field goal it’s hard to look past Matt Gay for this result, as the Bucs, in theory, did everything they needed to have the Giants beat.
The Giants definitely stepped up their game though, especially in the passing game. Evan Engram had 6 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown on 8 targets, while Sterling Shepard had 7 receptions for 100 yards, a touchdown and a 2-pt conversion on 9 targets. This was absolutely crucial for the Giants especially after Saquon Barkley’s injury, Barkley was on crutches for the entire second half and has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain meaning he will be out for a while.
Danny Dimes is here, and he looks like the real deal, now please do excuse me as I head off to go and pick him up for my fantasy football team.