Daniel Jones notched his second victory against the Redskins for 2019, earning the season sweep with Sunday's 41-35 overtime win at Washington and taking another step in his development.
In what was a career-best day for Jones, who returned for the first time since suffering a sprained left ankle Dec. 1 against the Green Bay Packers, the rookie quarterback completed 28 of 42 passes (66.7 percent) for 352 yards and five touchdowns.
Most importantly, on his way to leading the Giants (4-11) past the Redskins (3-12) with the game-winning three-yard touchdown pass for rookie tight end Kaden Smith, Jones did not turn the ball over for the first time all year.
"Light years," second-year head coach Pat Shurmur said of Jones' development. "He's going to have a moment in the middle of February somewhere, maybe back home, sitting on his couch up there in Hoboken, Weehawken -- wherever the heck he lives. He'll be like, 'Holy smokes. What happened to me?' He'll have one of those moments because that's what happens to rookies. I think he's only going to get better because he's a very, very talented guy that works hard. He had a good performance today."
The Giants drafted Jones at No. 6 overall in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft, notably over Dwayne Haskins, who went 15th to the Redskins. Compared early and often, despite different circumstances, Jones and Haskins started against each other for the first time after the game on Sept. 29 saw Haskins enter off the bench. Haskins completed 12 of 15 passes (80.0 percent) for 133 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game early in the third quarter with a left ankle injury, forcing veteran Case Keenum into action.
While the jury remains out for each first-year signal caller, the Giants are happy with their pick. As they enter next Sunday's 4:25 p.m. season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, Jones does so with 2,726 yards and 23 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in 12 games (11 starts).
Smith, who caught six passes for 35 yards (5.8 per reception) and two touchdowns, pointed to Jones' mental growth over the course of the fall.
"He goes in there confidently and doesn't change a thing," Smith said. "Everyone trusts him to make the play and that is what he has been doing all season."
Veteran wide receiver Cody Latimer echoed Smith's sentiments.
"He is going to be great and I said that when he first got here," Latimer, who caught five passes for 44 yards and a touchdown, said of Jones. "He is composed and doesn't play like a rookie. He took over and is a great leader and we all trust him, and he trust and believe in us to make plays."
Jones knows he has a long way to go, but his strides are evident.
"I think I have made a lot of improvements and certainly learned a lot," Jones said. "I think there is still a lot to learn. I realize that, but coach Shurmur, (offensive coordinator Mike) Shula, Eli (Manning), Alex (Tanney) help me out a ton.
"I feel like I have improved a lot. I understand a lot more and I look forward to continuing to do that."