EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones doesn’t look like the fleetest of foot. His deception, however, is on point.
On Sunday, Jones faked out the Bears as well as a quarterback can expect to fake any defense. Jones scored two rushing touchdowns in the Giants’ win over the Bears, 20-12, at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Both touchdowns came on play action fakes where Jones kept the football and ran it himself.
He had the Bears’ defense fooled both times.
“He might be a little quicker than you realize, but it’s just some plays he might catch the defense off guard,” Bears safety Jaquan Brisker said.
He certainly did Sunday.
Jones ran for 68 yards and two touchdowns on six carries. He also went 8-for-13 passing for 71 yards. With the win, the Giants improved to 3-1, while the Bears dropped to 2-2 following the loss.
Jones’ first touchdown came midway through the first quarter. He faked a hand off near the 25-yard line, rolled out to the left and had miles of space to work with. With the help of one blocker ahead of him, he ran in what was officially a 21-yard touchdown run.
His deception, combined with a mobility that is better than people think, made for a deadly combination.
“What really makes him effective, I feel like, is that he can move out of the pocket,” Brisker said. “When he’s rolling out, he can be balanced, he can get out the pocket or stay in the pocket.”
With just over five minutes remaining in the second quarter, he scored on a nearly identical play, this time from eight yards out.
Those two plays were the Giants’ only touchdowns of the game.
“I think it was just good on their behalf and us not sticking to our keys,” Bears linebacker Roquan Smith said. “That’s what it all comes down to, us sticking to our keys. If you do that, you’ll have a great shot at stopping them.”
All that said, the Bears didn’t play that bad of a game defensively. They gave up 262 rushing yards, which wasn’t good, but held the Giants to 71 passing yards. Safety Eddie Jackson had an interception late in the game. They gave their team a chance, the offense couldn’t score touchdowns.
It helped that Jones tweaked his ankle late in the third quarter. Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor entered the game for a short while, but Taylor took a hard hit early in the fourth quarter. The Giants pulled Taylor from the game to evaluate him for a concussion.
With no third quarterback active, the Giants were in the awkward position of either playing Jones with a bum ankle or not having a quarterback at all. They elected to stick Jones out on the field in the wildcat formation – with the QB lined up on the outside at wide receiver – and snapped the ball directly to the running back.
The Giants went wildcat for three plays in a row to set up a field goal late in the game.
“I was wondering what they were going to do, actually,” Bears cornerback Kindle Vildor said. “So I kind of figured they were going to run the ball, so we just really wanted to load the box up.”
With a lead late in the game and time winding down, the strategy didn’t end up costing the Giants. They leaned on Saquon Barkley (146 rushing yards on 31 carries) and the run game.
But it was Jones’ play fakes earlier in the game that built that lead.
“We weren’t doing our job, in a nutshell,” Smith said. “Granted, those were two great play calls.”