I’ll give the Giants credit. They did not waste any of the takeaways they got against Washington Football Team on Sunday. New York needed all five to come away with a 23-20 victory that dealt a serious blow to their chances at the top 2021 draft selection.
It’s not like anyone can play as poorly as the Jets, anyway. The Jaguars might have only one win, but even they are competitive week in and week out. The Jets, meanwhile, have only covered the spread in one game this season. And I type that as I’m hoping for them to stay within nine points of New England during Monday Night Football.
The problem with the Giants being a little better than horrible is that we still don’t know if they have their franchise quarterback. Daniel Jones succeeded in not throwing an interception or losing a fumble against Washington, but he didn’t blow anyone away, either. Jones dinked and dunked his way down the field for 212 yards and a touchdown. He took five sacks, included one on third down when the Giants needed a first down to put the game away late.
That touchdown pass to Evan Engram was perhaps Jones’s finest throw of the game, but there was no such magic in the second half. The Giants came out of the locker room with a 20-3 lead, but they scored just three points afterwards and held on for dear life while Alex Smith caught fire and led Washington on three straight scoring drives.
Smith entered the game in the second quarter after Jabrill Peppers injured Kyle Allen by trying to sack him with a leg whip. Based on how he lit a fire under Washington, Smith’s incredible comeback story might have a lot of football left in it. However, he also torpedoed the Football Team with three critical interceptions. The first came right before halftime with Washington in field goal range, and the last two were on his final two possessions when Football Team needed just a field goal to tie the game.
Still, with Allen expected to be out for a while, this is Smith’s team until the end of the season. Even if he plays really well, we’re going to end up wondering why Washington didn’t choose Tua Tagovailoa with the second overall pick in last year’s draft. The former Alabama star showed a lot of promise against Arizona on Sunday, while 2019 first round selection Dwayne Haskins appears to be on the outs in Washington just a few months after the team passed on Tagovailoa.
At least the Giants’ quarterback situation isn’t that much of a dumpster fire. Maybe it will be in the future, but it’s not quite there yet. Jones right now is playing well enough to keep the Giants out of prime quarterback-selecting territory but not nearly well enough to make them a playoff team despite an above-average defense. Even without the turnovers on Sunday, Jones still took five sacks, fumbled a couple of times (though the Giants recovered), and averaged just 6.2 yards per pass. You can’t say that turnovers are the guy’s only problems, but there’s also plenty of room to grow as he gains experience and the Giants gather more talent to put around him.
It still feels like this is a rebuilding year for New York, but a win in next week’s rematch with the Eagles will vault Big Blue right into the playoff hunt thanks to the quagmire that is the NFC East. Gotta love the NFL and it’s weird four-team divisions.