In the second week of the 2023 NFL season, Daniel Jones saved the Giants’ season, in a scintillating, 31-28 comeback win.
Meanwhile, Jets QB Zach Wilson played as expected–tossing three interceptions in the second half and the Jets got drubbed in Dallas.
The difference between the two local franchises’ starting quarterbacks was striking in week two.
Jones, who received a $40-million-a-year contract in the off-season showed for at least one game, why he is worth every penny. Jones completed 26 of 37 passes for 321 yards and put the Giants on his back in the second half, when they came back from a 28-7 disadvantage and matched the franchise’s 74-year record for biggest comeback.
It was as if Jones, after getting shut out of the end zone last week, willed the Giants to a stirring victory this week. After a moribund opening 30 minutes, he opened the second half with an exclamation point by completing a 58-yard bomb to rookie speedster Jalin Hyatt. (Remember that name, Giants fans. You’ll be hearing from him again and again throughout this season.).
The Giants’ win was fun and dramatic and unexpected and everything that sports is supposed to be. But what do we make of the 1-1 Giants, who lost to Dallas, 40-0 in the opener.
The team the Giants defeated, the Arizona Cardinals, is dreadful. Should Giants fans be jumping and down about having to pull out a game in the final seconds against the worst team in the league?
And now, the Giants continue their western jaunt by playing at the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 21. It would be extremely unlikely if the Giants could win that game, for the Niners are one of the most powerful and complete teams in the NFL. Asking the Giants to go into their home stadium on only four days of rest seems grossly unfair.
Whither the Jets
The Jets played predictably against Dallas. They didn’t embarrass themselves, in a 30-10 loss.
But never did any rational football fan think that the Jets were about to roar back and upset the Cowboys as they did against the Buffalo Bills in their season opener. The Cowboys outclassed the Jets on both sides of the ball. Wilson did not look like much of an inspirational leader on the field, especially after he tossed three second half interceptions.
If the Jets go on and sport a strong record, it will be in spite of Wilson, not because of him. It’s a shame, really, because the Jets on paper have a highly competitive squad at most other positions.
If Aaron Rodgers–remember him?–had not suffered a season-ending Achilles injury on the fourth play from scrimmage in week one, I might be typing about how the Jets will be right there with its strong AFC rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Baltimore Ravens, the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills.
Even with Rodgers, the Jets knew they had a tough stretch of opening games. But with Wilson not Rodgers, the team has to work way too hard on offense to put points on the scoreboard.
The Jets’ defense is considered to be a strong point, but the team has to field a dynamic offense. The defense can’t do it alone and in Sunday’s game, they seemed incapable of getting Dallas off the field without giving up a field goal.
Alas, Jets fans can only imagine what might have been. And Giants can still look forward to competing for a playoff position.