EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — Statistically, Daniel Jones is a mediocre to below average quarterback.
Except when he’s facing the commanders.
The New York Giants signal caller again proved a problem for Washington in Sunday’s 20-20 draw, notably hurting the commanders’ defense with his legs. Jones rushed for 71 yards on 12 attempts in addition to his 200-yard pass.
Figuring out how to stop Jones will likely be the Commanders’ top priority when the two teams meet again in just two weeks. The Commanders (7-5-1) have a bye week next weekend and when they return the following week they will host the Giants on either December 17th or 18th. The NFL has not yet set a date and time, but the decision is scheduled to be made Tuesday.
“He has good walking ability,” said Commander Safety Kam Curl. “We must try to contain it as best we can. If he breaks the bag, just take him down.”
Commanders were aware of the challenge presented by the 2019 first-round pick, but Jones still averaged 5.9 yards per carry — making him New York’s most effective rusher of the afternoon.
At the start of the matchup, Jones had rushed for 218 yards with 30 carries in just seven games against the Commanders in his four-year career. Washington has routinely failed to contain the Duke product — resulting in gains of 49 and 46 yards (in 2021 and 2020, respectively).
On Sunday, Washington was better at preventing complete collapses as Jones’ longest rush was 21 yards. The commanders also forced an early turnover on a Jones rush when defensive tackle Jonathan Allen snatched the ball from the quarterback. The fumble, recovered by Jamin Davis, led to Washington’s first points of the day when kicker Joey Slye hit a 21-yard field goal.
But in general, the quarterback was still able to escape the pocket and keep the games alive. Jones converted crucial third downs numerous times with his legs—like rushing 10 yards on third-and-7 in the second quarter and 7 yards on third-and-4 in the third quarter.
The Giants scored touchdowns on both possessions, the latter helping New York take a 20-13 lead. If the commanders had made the stop, New York is likely kicking a field goal instead.
“We have to be disciplined, stay where we’re supposed to be and limit his impact,” said coach Ron Rivera. “The young man makes such an impact.”
However, Jones also played with his arm – so much so that Washington benched seventh-seeded Christian Holmes and turned to veteran Danny Johnson. Jones’ best throw of the contest was a 55-yard bomb against Darius Slayton in the second quarter that led to New York’s first touchdown.
However, the Giants hardly seemed to ask Jones to push the ball down the field. The 25-year-old had 31 pass attempts – many of which were short throws and checkdowns.
However, this strategy was successful. Spikes aside, Jones (25 of 31) didn’t throw his first incompletion until 1:45 was left in regulation. But the Commanders buckled when needed – forcing imperfections on his next two throws to win the Giants’ punter.
In overtime, Jones was accurate again. He completed eight of 10 passes for 64 yards, although two of New York’s three drives resulted in a punt while the other ended in a missed 58-yard field goal.
Even so, Jones ended up with a 104.3 quarterback rating — the 10th-highest of his career. The only bright spot for the commanders was that the defense had four sacks on the signal caller.
“All we have to do is look at the tape, see why he did all these passes, and make the correction,” Curl said.