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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Daniel Jones is no longer perfect.
The New York Giants’ rookie quarterback still managed to impress, however, in a 32-13 victory over the Chicago Bears on Friday night at MetLife Stadium.
He fumbled twice in three series, but impressed with his arm and showed some resolve, too. You can bet the biggest lesson Jones will take away from his second preseason game is a simple one: protect the football.
Jones’ confidence never wavered, and that moxie paid off when the Giants took possession with 2:59 remaining in the first half. He went 4-for-4 on the drive, including a dime of a throw to T.J. Jones for a 15-yard touchdown.
Jones went 11-of-14 for 161 yards and that score. At one point Friday night, “Danny Dimes” — a nickname for Jones offered up on social media and suddenly catching on — was trending in the U.S. on Twitter.
“I gotta say, that’s a new one — I haven’t gotten Danny much,” Jones told the USA TODAY Network. “That’s alright with me. I’ve gotta keep throwing them, I guess.”
Maybe more than anything else, the Giants got to see Jones’ response to adversity for the first time as a professional. He dropped a snap. He held the ball in the pocket and failed to feel the oncoming rush, resulting in another fumble.
But given the chance late in the second quarter, Jones marched downfield as if none of that stuff had happened.
Jones’ first turnover halted what had been a promising first series, and it came one snap after Jones threw a perfectly-placed ball 40 yards downfield to Cody Latimer.
The Giants’ No. 6 overall pick lost the snap and fumbled away possession inside the red zone. It was hard to tell if Jones just dropped the football or pulled away from center too quickly.
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Jones’ streak of eight consecutive completions to open his preseason career ended on his second drive when he skipped a pass to Golden Tate. The Giants changed out their entire offensive line, removing the starters after two series, one with Eli Manning.
Jones opened his night with a dart to Bennie Fowler on second-and-16 following a holding penalty on fullback Eli Penny. Then Jones took his first hit after playing virtually untouched last week when Bears defensive tackle Nick Williams, all 6-4 and 308 pounds, decked him just as he released the ball.
Not only did Jones pop up, Williams got up slowly and left the game as the first quarter ended. Jones answered with his best pass in two games when he found a leaping Latimer down the left sideline. The momentum stopped there, though, when Jones fumbled.
The Bears gifted Jones and the Giants one more opportunity late in the second quarter, though, and they took advantage. A confident Jones set up Paul Perkins for a well-executed screen that went for 26 yards. Then he hit T.J. Jones for 9 yards, and after a 7-yard Perkins run, two more completions to T.J. Jones, including the 15-yard score.
“Daniel threw a perfect ball, a pretty ball,” T.J. Jones said. “I couldn’t have asked for better than that.”
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