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Daniel Jones deserved better than this Giants humiliation

After throwing four touchdown passes and no interceptions, Daniel Jones deserved a better fate than losing to the Jets 34-27 Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. What he really needed was a better team.

This Giants season is supposed to be all about Jones, the first-round draft pick destined to be the team’s quarterback for the next 10 years. His development is key to the future of the franchise. But Sunday’s game proved it can’t be all up to Jones, especially if the Giants (2-8) plan to win another game this season.

The first regular-season showdown between the rookie from Duke and the Jets franchise quarterback Sam Darnold went to Darnold. But don’t blame Jones, who completed 26 of 40 from 308 yards and two touchdowns each to Darius Slayton and Golden Tate.

“He has a bright future at quarterback,” Jets safety Jamal Adams said of Jones, who also rushed for a team high 20 yards on three carries. “He can run. He’s tall. He gets the ball down the field and he can make plays.”

Jones didn’t make enough plays Sunday. Or maybe it’s better to say he couldn’t. With running back Saquon Barkley limited to an unthinkable 1 yard on 13 carries, Jones spent the day under heavy pressure.

Working behind an offensive line that included three backups, he was sacked six times, and chased repeatedly by a Jets defense looking to force the rookie into mistakes.

Daniel Jones
Daniel JonesCharles Wenzelberg/New York Post

The only crucial one he made came in the early in the third quarter when Adams blitzed and stole the ball from Jones’ hands as the Giants quarterback was being sacked. Adams ran 25 yards for the defensive touchdown, giving the Jets a 21-13 lead. It was the eighth fumble Jones has lost in the last four games.

“I was trying to get the ball out and just didn’t do a good job of holding onto it with him there,” Jones said.

As brutal as that play was, Jones avenged the turnover by throwing touchdown passes of 61 and 15 yards to Tate to give the Giants a 27-21 lead in the third quarter. But they failed to generate much offense in the fourth quarter, punting on three consecutive series before ending the game with a fumble on the final play.

“You realize you have to sustain that energy and momentum or what you’re doing consistently enough to handle their punches and we didn’t do that,” Jones said.

The Giants’ losing streak is now six games after a loss that had co-owner John Mara ignoring questions from the media as he exited the team’s locker room. He passed a mural of the Giants’ four Super Bowl trophies that once intimidated the Jets to the point where they would cover it up for their home games. Now it seems like ancient graffiti of a bygone era.

“The only thing I can ask at this point is just be patient and try to trust the process,” Tate said.

The Giants have plenty of soul-searching to do during the bye week, understanding Jones and whatever rookie mistakes he makes aren’t the problem. He played well enough to win Sunday.

“We just aren’t making enough plays,” safety Jabrill Peppers said. “We have to score on defense, they did. They did last week, too. We have to match that to help our rookie quarterback out.”

There’s not much more the Giants could have expected from Jones on Sunday. Maybe he could have kept Adams from stealing the ball, but someone should have kept Adams from being in his lap in the first place. Establishing a running game also would help.

“As an offense we have to be able to attack a lot of different ways,” Jones said. “Each of the phases will take pressure off of others.”

Jones has now made eight starts in his pro career, the equivalent of half a regular season. As expected, we have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. He was mostly good against the Jets on Sunday. But his team supplied too much of the ugly.

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