This has been a forgettable season for the Giants. But a victory over Washington’s Football Team last week at least gave the team its first win, and Thursday’s game against the Eagles in Philadelphia produced the kind of electrifying moment that brings hope for reinvigorating a season. Almost, anyway.
Trailing the Eagles, 10-7, in the third quarter, and starting a drive at his 12-yard line, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones faked a handoff and rolled right. The fake fooled the Eagles’ defense, and as Jones turned upfield there was nothing but green grass in front of him. So he sprinted into daylight.
20, 30, 40, 50, 40 … the yards rolled away with no defender in sight. Jones was on his way to giving the Giants the lead and providing the kind of signature play replayed endlessly on highlight shows and viral clips and in the minds of Giants fans eager for a good memory from this year.
And Jones was flying. At his 43 he hit 21.23 miles an hour, according to NextGen stats, the fastest top speed by a quarterback over the last three seasons. By the time Jones got to the 35 it was clear that he was going to score.
And then, just like last, it was clear he wasn’t.
It was just one bad step, one foot touching down an inch or two away from where it ideally should have landed. But Jones’s next step was a little worse, and after a few more his balance was gone.
Jones leaned forward, tried and failed to catch himself and then, just 15 yards from the end zone, tumbled to the ground.
Jones rolled forward to the 8 and tried to get up, but a late-arriving Eagle ended the play by touching him. In the end, Jones had gained 80 yards, the longest run by a quarterback since 2015. But he had needed 88 to score, and the way the play ended — a player running free and then falling, untouched and unchallenged — ensured that it would have a long life, not in video compilations of glory, but of ignominy.
Within minutes, rival players were weighing in.
“I tried to run faster than I was running, and I got caught up,” Jones told reporters after the game.
Glass-is-half-full Giants fans will point out that the team scored to take the lead four plays after Jones’s tumble. But few will remember that. (Congratulations, Wayne Gallman: Your 1-yard run is now a great trivia answer.)
The bigger problem for the Giants is that they blew an 11-point lead with five minutes left and lost the game, 22-21, to fall to 1-5. Next Monday, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers come to town. Lowlight fans and Twitter quipsters will be waiting.