The New York Giants clung to a 5-3 lead against the spiraling Carolina Panthers deep into the third quarter Sunday, searching for a big play to spark a rally. As they did all afternoon, Big Blue turned to Daniel Jones.
The quarterback made an Odell Beckham-esque leaping one-handed grab on a trick-play throw from wideout Dante Pettis for a 16-yard gain. The catch brought life to the Giants, who finished the drive with a more traditional Jones-to-Pettis TD that helped cushion what would become a 25-3 blowout win over the Panthers.
The spectacular catch underscored Jones' massive role in the win. When the Giants needed a key run, they called Jones' number. When they needed a pass to move the chains, they called his number. And when they needed a catch to wake up a restless crowd, Jones delivered.
"Daniel's a competitor," defensive back Logan Ryan said after the win. "I think he shows that he puts his body on the line to do whatever it takes running. I just heard QB1, RB1 and Wide Receiver 1 today. He put it on the line today and whatever it took to get those first downs, to grind it out. Offense turned it on and put the game out of reach and sealed it how you should. It was a good complementary team win."
In response, New York asked Jones to do more, and the QB delivered.
Using Jones' athleticism, the Giants consistently and smartly moved the pocket against a ferocious Panthers defensive front. Rolling the pocket allowed Jones to cut the field in half and use his legs to run when necessary.
"I thought (offensive coordinator) Jason (Garrett) and his staff did a really good job early in the week of identifying how we want to play this game, what does that team do well, how do we have to go ahead and play to our strengths and not let them use their strengths to expose something of ours," coach Joe Judge said. "We did some things that we knew would not show up in a lot of games that we had. That was a focus of ours throughout the game planning. Obviously, Daniel's athleticism shows up in that. Quarterback runs showed up throughout the game. Thought he did a good job -- some were outside, some were inside, some of the roll passes where we give him a run-pass option. Did a good job throwing the ball accurately on the move today."
Jones finished 23-of-33 passing for 203 yards with a TD and no turnovers. He added eight rushes for 28 yards and one catch for 16 yards. After a slow start, the Giants scored on each of their final four possessions before icing the game.