When Daniel Jones last played, he was clearly hampered by a balky hamstring. He looked so limited in a Week 14 loss to the Cardinals that Joe Judge had to repeatedly defend the decision to play his second-year signal caller.
Those questions didn’t exist Sunday after the Giants 27-13 loss to the Ravens in Baltimore, but the Giants offense was no less lethargic in Jones’ return to the starting lineup. After sitting out last week’s loss to the Browns with hamstring and ankle woes, Jones looked less affected by medical issues, but still wasn’t very effective.
Jones completed 24 of 41 passes for 252 yards and one touchdown. He did not throw an interception – a previous negative trademark of his Sundays. But he also only rushed once for three yards, a previous positive trademark of them.
"I feel good," Jones said. "I felt like I could move, I could get out of the pocket and do what I needed to do. So, I felt good about that."
Judge said he liked what he saw from Jones – scoreboard output notwithstanding.
"Daniel looked the way I expected him to look out there," Judge said. "He played confidently, didn’t look hesitant in anything he did. He gave us a chance out there. I thought Daniel did a lot of nice things today. Ultimately, as a team, it wasn’t enough. But, in terms of how he looked coming off the injury, I thought he looked better."
Offensively, the Giants were inept in the first half, mustering only three points. Part of that had to do with the Giants’ defense not being able to get Lamar Jackson and company off the field. The Ravens had two first-half drives that lasted over eight minutes and kept the ball for the first 22:38.
That’s no winning recipe.
When the Giants had the ball, they couldn’t do anything with it. They ran four offensive plays in the first quarter and held the ball for under two minutes. On their only drive of the first quarter, they committed two consecutive false start penalties, turning a third-and-7 into a third-and-17 deep in their own territory.
"It’s frustrating. We have to get off to better starts," said reciever Sterling Shepard. "…It’s simple things that we have to correct. You look at the first drive, little things like jumping offsides, it puts us in a bad position. Those type of things are just mental errors. It’s nothing that the opposing team did. It’s something that we did to ourselves."
Said Jones: "We didn’t start the game like we needed to and shot ourselves in the foot early on a couple of plays. We weren’t able to convert third downs and that hurt us, put us behind, dug a little hole for us. We got to look at the stuff, clean it up. Makes it tough when you put yourself in that position."
Late in the game, the Ravens ratcheted up the pressure. Jones was sacked six times in the second half, including three consecutive times early in the fourth quarter on a drive that eventually ended in a touchdown pass to Shepard that cut the lead to 27-13.
"They deserve credit," Jones said. "They were pressuring and found different ways to bring it. I’ve got to do a better job seeing it and getting the ball out in a lot of those situations, where they’re exposed in the back end in the coverage."