You’re Daniel Jones.
Your receivers on this day are named Slayton, Pettis, Johnson, Ross, Engram and Rudolph.
Your blockers on this day are Peart, Hernandez, Price, Skura and Solder.
Your mandate, as the franchise quarterback, appears to be Mission Impossible: Elevate the play of everyone in your huddle, and somehow lift your team to the finish line, if there is any possible way.
Against all odds, Daniel Jones found a way.
And when Giants 25, Panthers 3 was over, you could imagine the possibilities when Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay and Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley and Andrew Thomas are all back healthy.
Because if Daniel Jones can thrive on a day like this, with his arm, with his legs, and heavens to OBJ, with his right hand and right hand only, it offers real promise that he is more ready than he has ever been to take that next step and grow into this franchise’s franchise quarterback, fugeddabout anyone else.
“QB1, RB1, wide receiver today,” Logan Ryan said.
Of course Daniel Jones would need help, and he got it:
From an angry old-fashioned Giants defense that showed some pride and fight and actually got after the quarterback with ferocity (six sacks) and refused to let Matt Rhule’s running game (56 yards) establish an identity and sent Sam Darnold to the bench early in the fourth quarter.
From an unlikely source: embattled play-caller Jason Garrett, who dialed up the play that awakened Giants fans from their slumber and electrified the home team and the sideline.
The fish didn’t stink from the head down.
For once, it didn’t stink at all.
The Giants are 2-5, and at last Giants fans could stick around and cheer Jones take a couple of knees from the victory formation and head for the parking lots clinging to this belief:
We ain’t dead yet.
They ain’t dead yet if Jones (23-for-33, 203 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 8-28 rushing, 1-16 receiving!) can dominate the opposing quarterback the way he did on Sunday as the spearhead of a formula that features no turnovers and complementary football from Big Blue.
One play call, one play, one catch from Jones changed everything.
And for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, a roar erupted from the stands and you heard:
“Let’s Go Gi-ants … Let’s Go Gi-ants … Let’s Go Gi-ants.”
At the time, it felt like the middle of the third inning, Giants 5, Panthers 3, first down at the Carolina 48.
Devontae Booker took the handoff, handed the ball to Dante Pettis, who was running to his right, who looked downfield for … Jones.
“I thought Jason and the staff did a really good job of early in the week identifying how we were gonna play this game,” Joe Judge said.
Let Jones use his legs, let him roll to the right and either run or throw accurately on the move against a speedy and aggressive defense.
“I thought it was a really good plan going in,” Jones said.
Jones isn’t Lamar Jackson, or Jim Thorpe, but you’d sure bet on him in a decathlon over Eli Manning. He gives you a Jersey Special option.
“[Quarterbacks coach] Jerry Schuplinski pulled that out of the vault this week, but it wasn’t like he invented the play either,” Judge said.
It was a 16-yard catch, and six plays later, Jones returned the favor with a 5-yard TD pass to Pettis, and it was Giants 12, Panthers 3.
Jones doesn’t remember catching a pass even in high school. He was smiling from here to Duke as he said: “It was a pretty unathletic route getting out there.” He chuckled and added: “He put it out there for me, and just tried to pull it in.”
They had worked on the play in practice with intermittent success. Jones had actually made a one-handed grab on one occasion.
“I think it was a good throw,” Jones said. “I don’t think the route was very good, and I don’t think I was moving very fast. And I’ve been on the other end of that … I get mad at guys, I did the same thing there.”
Pettis — of course he wears Odell Beckham Jr.’s old 13 jersey — recalled throwing a TD pass at the University of Washington.
“I did think he slowed down a little bit, and that’s a no-no, you know? Pettis said, and smiled.
It wound up a yes-yes at the end of which Jones absorbed a hellacious hit from safety Sean Chandler.
“I’m not surprised. The guy’s an athlete,” Graham Gano said. “He caught a one-handed catch, right? It was awesome. Gotta get a still shot of that and get it signed.”
The Giants found a way to win.
“We believe in who we are as team, what we’re doing as a team, and where we’re going,” Jones said.
It’s the franchise quarterback who gives a franchise belief.
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