Two minutes and 34 seconds.
That’s how much time was left in the game when the Giants decided to sit quarterback Daniel Jones after a slight limp from a hamstring strain seemed to get worse as the game went on in a 27-7 loss, its most lopsided defeat since a Week 3 blowout by the 49ers, to the Arizona Cardinals.
“Well, I thought he was able to protect himself in the pocket, which is the main concern in terms of can he step up, can he move it?” head coach Joe Judge said after the game.
The only thing is Jones couldn’t step up or move it as well as perhaps he needed to.
It certainly didn’t help the Giants that their offensive line had no answers for a Cardinals defense that recorded six out of its eight sacks against Jones while holding the Giants starting quarterback to 11 completions out of 21 attempts for 127 yards.
Jones didn’t attempt any runs this week—no surprise there—and that just might have changed how the Cardinals defended the Giants.
“They did some things we didn't expect,” Giants running back Wayne Gallman admitted of the Cardinals defense, declining to go into specifics.
But this decision about Jones? Defending himself is one thing, but in a game, the Giants needed to win, the decision certainly doesn't look like the wisest one of the day.
“We knew that there was going to be some situations today where he wasn't going to be able to pull it down, just run as he had in the past,” Judge said of Jones. “We knew it was gonna either be throwing the ball away or possibly taking sacks at certain points. That was something we knew going into the game and we saw some of that early on, but I thought overall, he was able to show that he could protect himself in the pocket.”
The decision to play Jones wasn't the only reason the Giants lost this game. The special teams continued to hurt the cause, and well, the defense could only do so much to stop the dam from breaking.
But by playing Jones--who is typically available for his postgame media briefing right after the game but who this week was delayed likely due to his getting treatment--the Giants better hope that they didn't make things worse.
"I have no regrets about playing him," Judge said. "We made a calculated decision based on what we thought he could do as a player. We went out there and as a team, we have to execute better."
The Giants will host the Cleveland Browns (9-3) in the Week 15 Sunday night game. Cleveland has won five out of their last six contests, including four in a row. Over their four-game winning streak, the Browns have outscored their opponents 100-84. Cleveland is set to host the Baltimore Ravens (7-5) on Monday night.