The answer is: three times.
Three times in 47 starts as quarterback for Daniel Jones of the Giants. This is how he rarely set foot on the pitch and engaged in what can realistically be considered a penalty shootout match – a game in which both teams reach 30 points.
Jones was involved in such a game in his first-ever NFL start, moving in as a rookie for Eli Manning in Week 2 of the 2019 season. Jones was… magnificent. He brought the Giants back from a 28-10 halftime deficit at Tampa with two second-half touchdown passes and sealed the deal with a 7-yard run sign of things to come with 1:16 remaining. for a 32 -31 comeback win.
Since? Not so much in the shooting department. Later that season, in Week 15, Jones had his first (and only) five touchdown performance in a 41-35 win at Washington. In Week 5 of 2020, Jones didn’t do anything particularly noteworthy in a 37-34 loss at Dallas.
Jones’ grip on the starting position matched a lull in offensive production that began before he took over. Along with that came mostly competent work on defense, leading to often close, fairly low-scoring games. The huge difference this season is that Jones has a noose safety with the ball, Saquon Barkley is healthy and the NFL’s running leader, and the Giants are finding ways to win (seven times, already) a lot more. often they do take the inherent faux pas to defeat (only twice).
This takes us to Sunday and the arrival of the Lions, a lopsided team with a poor record (3-6), which will enter MetLife Stadium with one of the most explosive offensive units in the league and one of the most mediocre defenses in the league. Points are rarely valuable when the Lions are around. If that’s the case on what will be the first taste of winter (think cold and windy) at the New Jersey Meadowlands, can Jones get his guys warmed up and keep up?
“We always try to score as many points as possible,” Jones said. “Every time we get the ball back we try to put it in the end zone. It doesn’t change from week to week depending on who we play.’
The Lions, with Jared Goff getting rid of the ball and spreading it, are ninth in the league with 24.3 points per game and have exceeded 30 points four times this season. The Giants do not frequent this district. They haven’t reached 30 points in 37 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.
Jones is coming off a 24-16 victory over the Texans, in which he compiled a career-high passer rating and was let go for just 17 pass attempts, suggesting the Giants were “conservative” – a Characterization head coach Brian Daboll certainly hasn’t embraced it.
“All we have to do is what we are tasked with,” Daboll said. “Every game is different. Every situation in the games that comes up is different.”
Sunday will be a sort of candy-picking game for the Giants. The Lions are allowing an NFL-high 29.3 points per game and are nearly as ineffective against the pass (27th in the league) as they are against the run (31st). Opposing offenses convert 51.1% on third down, making the Lions the league’s worst third defense.
Jones replied, “Yeah, I think so”, when asked if he enjoyed playing in shootouts. Forgive him his indecisiveness – he wasn’t involved in many of them.
“When it’s a competitive game like that, then it’s definitely fun to play,” Jones said.
Maybe the Giants can slow down the higher-scoring Lions, who are more powerful on their fast home track in Detroit: They were shut out by the Patriots in New England and managed just six points in a loss to the Cowboys in Dallas. Maybe not, which means Jones will have to shake off the cobwebs and remember what it’s like to be involved in a high-scoring affair.
“I like winning,” Daboll said. “So whether it’s 3-2 or 45-48, our job is to try to find a way to win. Either way, that’s what I like.”