NY Giants trusted Daniel Jones to make a big time throw in a big spot in Thursday’s loss, and that’s a huge step in the quarterback’s development
With the game on the line for the NY Giants, first-year head coach Joe Judge trusted second-year quarterback Daniel Jones in a big spot. Judge went aggressive, and while it didn’t work out in a 22-21 loss to the Eagles, the decision was absolutely correct.
The Giants led the Eagles 21-16 with 2:14 left to play, and faced third-and-six from their own 47-yardline. The Eagles had two timeouts remaining, and Carson Wentz had just led them down the field on a four play, 68-yard touchdown drive in 1:39 to cut it down to a one score game.
The old fashioned decision would be to run the ball, conceding that you probably won’t convert a first down, and force the Eagles to either burn a timeout or take it down to the two-minute warning. In all likelihood you’ll end up punting out of the two-minute warning, and the Eagles will start inside their own 20-yardline with two timeouts and about 1:53 left.
Your odds of winning the game are your odds of preventing a touchdown drive there. Or, you can pass and risk stopping the clock – but increase your chance of converting the first down. If you convert it, you may be in field goal range, and in a worse case scenario you can run the clock down near the one-minute mark before giving up the ball.
Realistically, a first down takes your win percentage up near 100 percent. That’s the upside of throwing the ball. The downside is giving the Eagles an extra stoppage to work with when you fail to convert. If you ask me, it’s well worth the risk. I’m pretty confident that Bill Belichick would throw for it in that situation, so I was curious what his disciple Joe Judge would do.
Of course, the big difference is that for the better part of the last 20 years, Belichick had future hall of famer Tom Brady under center. Judge had second-year signal caller Daniel Jones. But he stayed aggressive and trusted his young quarterback.
Jones rewarded that trust by dropping a beautiful throw in to Evan Engram, which should have iced the game away. Instead, Engram dropped the ball near the Eagles’ 20-yardline. Had he caught it, the Giants would have taken it down to the two-minute warning and been inside field goal range. It was one of two critical throws that Jones made last night that should be great signs for his development.
Instead, the drop gave the Eagles new life and they took full advantage. But don’t blame the decision making. I was critical of Judge last week for being too conservative in a pair of fourth down spots, so it was an encouraging sign to see him make the right move this time, regardless of the results.