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Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley return to where they gave Giants hope

It was three days earlier than Christmas 2019 and the Giants had been nearing the tip of one other dismal season. A nine-game dropping streak was snapped every week earlier however this was a joyless time for a franchise that quickly would fireplace one other head coach, looking for a ray of sunshine amid all of the darkness.

And the Giants discovered a spark.

Daniel Jones, their rookie quarterback, was good. He threw 5 landing passes and never one interception, passing for 352 yards on the smooth grass at FedEx Field. Saquon Barkley, the second-year operating again, was spectacular, ripping by way of Washington for 189 yards, together with a landing burst of 67 yards and a 33-yard reception for an additional landing. It added up to a 41-35 victory however way more compelling was this younger, tantalizing 1-2 punch, seemingly able to carrying the Giants onward and upward.

Jones and Barkley on Thursday night time return to the positioning of these scintillating performances however every part about them, and their workforce, is missing. Jones lost for the nineteenth time in his 27 begins final week, committing yet one more key turnover at one other essential juncture. At the identical time, Barkley returned from an 11-month ordeal following knee surgical procedure and struggled to regain his footing, actually. The Giants opened this season with a 27-13 loss to the Broncos, their still-young offensive leaders as soon as once more unable to make sufficient of a distinction.

Daniel Jones (l.) and Saquon Barkley rejoice after connecting on a landing cross throughout the Giants’ win at Washington on Dec. 22, 2019.
USA TODAY Sports

There was a time, not too way back, when Jones and Barkley got here to Landover, Md. and had been every part the Giants wanted them to be. Can they be that once more? If so, the Giants can use them, proper now, to forestall one other season from spiraling away.

“We’ve got to capitalize,” Barkley mentioned. “We’re proficient, we all know the expertise that we’ve got, we belief the teaching workers that we’ve got, but it surely’s on us to go on the market and capitalize.

“I feel like if we’re able to do that more consistently, the season is going to play out how we want to play out. I think that’s where we find ourselves — whether it’s from when I’ve been here, or the last two years, or even last week.”

This is an offense that scored a complete of seven factors within the first 59 minutes and 59 seconds of their season opener, coming off averaging 17.5 factors a recreation in 2020. Washington is coming off a 20-16 home-field loss to the Chargers.

Amid all of the horrible soccer the Giants have put forth, they’ve  recognized how to beat Washington, carrying in a five-game profitable streak. Jones is 4-0 as a starter on this NFC East sequence.

“I think every year is different, every team is different, every game is different, so we’ll prepare for this one individually,” Jones mentioned, “but I think we’ll have a good game plan going in.”

Will they? This is a sore topic amongst Giants followers, fearful that offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will not be doing sufficient to give the assembled expertise a bonus. On 4 offensive sequence, the Giants final week superior for first downs on the Denver 30, 22, 6 and 16 yard strains. The whole scoring output from this fascinating area position? Zero factors.

There is each purpose to suspect a disaster of confidence at work right here. How might there not be?

“I feel like we have it in us and we’re capable of it,” mentioned receiver Sterling Shepard, who has seen extra of this with the Giants than anybody on the roster. “I know we’re capable of it, everybody knows we’re capable of it. We’ve just got to put it together and do it.”

Daniel Jones arms the ball off to Saquon Barkley throughout the Giants’ loss to the Broncos on Sept. 12, 2021.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

The begin to the 2021 season was greater than a failure to produce on offense. The protection, supposed to be the energy of the workforce, couldn’t get Teddy Bridgewater off the sphere within the opener and now will get to see if it could resolve the riddle that’s Taylor Heinicke, immediately Washington’s beginning quarterback, with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick out a number of weeks with a hip harm.

Even if there’s a revival on protection, the Giants want extra factors.

“I think we all believe we can do it,” Jones mentioned.

They did it — Jones and Barkley — late within the 2019 season, in the identical place they enterprise into now. That looks like a protracted, very long time in the past.