New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones ended his preseason on a high note by completing all four of his passes for 47 yards in a 31-29 win over the New England Patriots on Thursday.
The 22-year-old, who made his first start, impressed again despite playing just one drive. He found Golden Tate twice for 42 yards, including this 24-yard dime down the sideline:
The drive stalled on the Patriots' 13-yard line after a 4th-and-1 run proved unsuccessful, but numerous analysts heaped praise upon Jones, who finished the preseason by completing 29 of 34 passes (85.6 percent) for 416 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions (two fumbles lost). The former Duke star also threw for 12.2 yards per attempt.
Of note, SNY.tv's Ralph Vacchiano said his "accuracy and touch this summer have been outstanding," and ESPN's Logan Banker tweeted that he looks "phenomenal," citing the signal-caller's "accuracy and IQ."
As Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweeted, the question is when Jones starts in regular-season games.
That's uncertain, but it won't be Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys. Head coach Pat Shurmur told reporters that Eli Manning will be the team's starter.
On the other sideline, the Patriots dominated the first half as a few big names made cameos.
New England responded to a touchdown catch from Giants wideout Alonzo Russell with 26 unanswered points in the second quarter.
Demaryius Thomas stole the show, amassing seven receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Granted, the 31-year-old did his work against backups, but he looked ready for Week 1 after suffering a torn Achilles last December that prematurely ended his 2018 season with the Houston Texans.
Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston called Thomas (and Josh Gordon's) performances "encouraging," and Jeff Howe of The Athletic wondered what might be ahead if this version of the wideout shows up in the regular season:
Otherwise, Julian Edelman caught one pass for 20 yards after missing much of the preseason with a thumb injury.
Gordon, who was reinstated into the NFL in mid-August after an indefinite suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, snatched two passes for 30 yards.
They all caught passes from impressive rookie Jarrett Stidham, who made his case to be the Pats' No. 2 quarterback over veteran Brian Hoyer by completing 18 of 28 passes for 225 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in addition to accruing 50 yards on seven rushes.
Howe praised the quarterback's touch on his first touchdown to Thomas:
Mike Reiss of ESPN.com said before the game that the Giants matchup was a chance for Stidham to make his "final QB2 statement," and the rookie out of Auburn gave New England coaches something to ponder with his performance.
Stidham led the Patriots to a 29-10 halftime lead, but the Giants stormed back in the second half, scoring 21 unanswered points.
An Aldrick Rosas field goal, a 27-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Lauletta to Scott Simonson and a six-yard Wayne Gallman Jr. rush pulled the Giants within 29-25.
The G-Men then had the ball down four with 2:16 remaining and earned the win with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Lauletta to Russell with no time remaining.
Russell finished with five receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns, while Lauletta went 22-of-40 for 248 yards and two scores.
The Giants finished the preseason 4-0, and the Patriots fell to 3-1.
New York will visit the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 4:25 p.m. ET to begin their 2019 campaign.
The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will raise their sixth championship banner before hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers on the same date at 8:15 p.m.