This Sunday at MetLife Stadium could have passed for a Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The wind chill made it feel like 24 degrees for kickoff. The snow left a thin white blanket on the field in the first quarter and was followed by a wintry mix. Not exactly prime throwing weather.
But Aaron Rodgers, the seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time MVP, threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions for the Packers. Daniel Jones, the first-round rookie, couldn’t keep up for the Giants. He threw one touchdown pass and three interceptions, and he hurt an ankle along the way.
The Giants lost, 31-13, and dropped to 2-10 with their eighth straight defeat, but this lost season is a lot about Jones getting on-the-job training. Despite the rough day, he still thinks he’s an ascending quarterback.
“I feel like I’m making progress,” he said. “Obviously, there’s still a lot to work on and I understand that. But I feel like I’m improving, and the challenge is to continue to do that but do it faster and play more consistently.”
Jones was 20-for-37 passing for 240 yards. He has 2,374 passing yards this season, breaking Charlie Conerly’s 1948 Giants rookie mark of 2,175. Jones also became the fourth quarterback since the 1970 merger to throw for at least one touchdown in his first 10 starts.
The latest TD pass, his 18th of the season, went to Sterling Shepard in the first quarter, a perfect 18-yard toss to the left side of the end zone. Jones also threw a nice long ball to Cody Latimer down the middle for 43 yards, setting up a field goal in the third quarter.
But then there were the interceptions, which increased his total to 11. One was a bad overthrow. Jones didn’t blame the conditions for any of them.
“He’s got to keep playing through it and learning from every scenario,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “There’s no better training ground than playing, and unfortunately we’re dealing with some mistakes that you hope that you never see again.”
His mistakes often have come in the form of fumbles. He has lost 10 to other teams. That included at least one in each of his five previous games, but that streak is over. He was charged with his 15th fumble overall on a botched play, but the Giants recovered.
“I think I was better in the pocket with the ball, but the interceptions hurt us,” Jones said.
The injury to his right ankle occurred when Jones carried for 2 yards on a fourth-and-2 play in the second quarter, but he got retaped and played through it.
“It’s sore, but that’s part of playing the game,” he said. “I’ll be fine.”
Jones and the Giants now will try to prevent tying the franchise record for consecutive losses at Philadelphia next Monday night.
“No one likes to lose,” Jones said, “but I think through it, we’ve been able to stick together.”