EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Daniel Jones reminded everyone on Sunday that he's human.
He also reminded everyone that he's resilient, too.
The Giants' 22-year-old rookie quarterback struggled a bit in his home debut and threw the first two interceptions of his NFL career. But he bounced back each time, never looked rattled, and made more than enough plays to help the Giants beat the Redskins 24-3 to improve to 2-2.
Overall, Jones completed 23-of-31 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown, but wasn't nearly as dazzling as he was in his debut last Sunday in Tampa. Instead, what he showed was the big quality the Giants loved when they drafted him: his unflappable demeanor and ability to shake any problems off. His interceptions came on back-to-back drives. He nearly threw another one before the end of the first half.
But he was never knocked off his game. And in the second half, his play was relatively mistake-free.
Both of Jones' interceptions were fairly typical rookie interceptions. On the first one, it looked like he was locked in on receiver Sterling Shepard -- something he seemed to do far more in this game than he did a week ago in Tampa. The pass was fine, but he gave Washington corner Quinton Dunbar a chance to get an early jump on it, which he did.
The second came on the next drive and this pass was a bit riskier. Shepard was very well-covered by Dunbar and probably didn't have much of a chance to catch the pass anyway. Still, Dunbar had to make a heck of a play to lunge in front of Shepard and pick it off.
The other one, that nearly resulted in a third interception, was another risky pass. It was a deep shot to Bennie Fowler, but again he was well-covered -- this time by Redskins cornerback Josh Norman. As the ball came down, Norman lunged in front of Fowler, but couldn't quite hang on.
Again, this isn't surprising for a rookie quarterback, but Jones was definitely locking in on his receivers for too long and trying to force balls to targets that weren't really open. There could have been big rewards for doing that, of course, but they also come with high risk.
Yet if he was rattled he didn't show it. In fact, he showed the opposite.
In the third quarter, facing a 3rd-and-13, he was basically trapped in the pocket by pressure from the Redskins. Rather than take a sack or force a pass downfield, he somehow slipped away from one defender, spun away from two more, and ran for 16 yards in what was one of his best plays so far.
That's what the Giants expect of Jones, and why they think he'll be able to endure rookie struggles better than most. When bad things happen to him, he bounces right back. That's an outstanding quality for a quarterback to have.
Here are a few more takeaways from the win that evened the Giants' record …
- Saquon who? It was really a heck of an effort by Wayne Gallman, who would have been the Giants' starting running back last year if they hadn't drafted Saquon Barkley. The third-year pro was outstanding, rushing 18 times for 63 yards and a touchdown, and catching six passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. He even took a couple of brutal hits -- one on the sidelines after an ugly facemask from Norman and another when he tried to fly over the pile from the one-yard line. He did have a fourth-quarter fumble, though. Good thing for him, the game was out of reach by then.
- Yes, it's only the Redskins and they are a mess, but give the Giants defense credit for being much improved. They held Washington to 176 total yards and forced four turnovers. And they were notably outstanding in the first half, where they had been an absolute disaster this season -- even before the Redskins turned to rookie QB Dwayne Haskins. The first-half totals: Five first-half drives for the Redskins, three punts and only three points. They had just 86 total yards. And all of that included a goal-line stand late in the first quarter when the Redskins had 1st and goal at the 1 and the Giants held them to a field goal.
- On homecoming day for former Giants safety Landon Collins, his replacement, Jabrill Peppers, had his "Welcome to the Giants" moment -- a pick-six in the third quarter. It came at a great time, too, because the Giants had just turned the ball over deep in Washington territory. Peppers bailed them out. And there is no doubt it felt good to him given all the hype about Collins, who was mostly nonexistent in his return to New York.
- Tremendous bounce-back game for CB Janoris Jenkins too, one week after he was destroyed in Tampa by Mike Evans. This time, he came up with two interceptions and help hold the Redskins to just 121 passing yards.
- Jones' ability to throw across his body -- rolling to the right and then throwing to the left -- is amazing. It's a really difficult throw to make under the best of circumstances, but it's really hard to throw the ball that way with any power or any accuracy. Yet he consistently does both. He's even done it the other way, rolling left and throwing right, which actually might be harder for a right-hander. He's also really good at play-action, by the way. He seems to hide the ball and his actual intentions well.
- Rookie LB Ryan Connelly, getting a starting job and an increased role with Alec Ogletree out, was proving to be a very good player before he was carted off in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. He had a sack and an interception in this game. Neither were spectacular plays. He caught the interception off a deflection, and the sack was the result of pressure by the defensive line. But he makes plays and seems to be in the right spot. The Giants have certainly done worse than that at linebacker over the years.
- Good job by Pat Shurmur staying aggressive and creative with a young quarterback in there (and no Barkley). On the opening drive, he had the Giants go for it on 4th-and-2 from the Washington 24. It worked, and the Giants ended up scoring on a touchdown a few plays later. He also ran an end around to Sterling Shepard that went for 23 yards. With defenses so worried about Jones' ability to run, and with his impressive ability to run a play-action, end-arounds and other gadget plays are going to be hard to defend.
- As well as the Giants' defense played in the first half, don't overlook this: Twice, Redskins QB Case Keenum had WR Trey Quinn running wide open down the middle of the field for what looked to be an easy touchdown -- once on the first play of the game, once in the second quarter on the first play after an interception. Both times Keenum overthrew Quinn.
- The Giants really don't want to have to bring in a veteran running back with Barkley out. They're hoping to get by with Gallman and rookie Jonathan Hilliman, the undrafted running back from Rutgers. But Hilliman's fumble in the third quarter might force them to look outside. The Giants had momentum after a 16-yard, third-down run by Jones, and Hilliman lost the ball at the three-yard line. Big wasted opportunity. … Also: Why wasn't Gallman in for those carries? That was a big mistake, too.