Daniel Jones certainly has a long way to go if he ever wants to be mentioned in the same sentence as Aaron Rodgers.
That much was clear on Sunday afternoon as the Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (9-3) rolled over the rookie Jones and the Giants 31-13 in the Week 13 snow at MetLife Stadium. It was the Giants’ (2-10) eighth-consecutive loss after Jones won his first two career starts under center in New York.
Rodgers rebounded strongly after a career-worst 104-yard effort last week against the San Francisco 49ers. Granted, he went from playing one of the NFL’s best defenses to one of its worst in the Giants.
The Packers star completed 21-of-33 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns — two of them to Davante Adams — as the weather did little to slow him down.
Jones — who was playing in his first-ever inclement weather game — struggled after a promising start, completing 54-percent of his passes for 240 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.
While the Giants unraveled in the second half after hanging tough with Green Bay, star running back Saquon Barkley showed the first glimpses of breaking out of a difficult slump.
Averaging just 38 rushing yards in his previous four games, Barkley posted 83 yards on 19 carries against the Packers.
After a predictable opening drive that saw Shurmur dial up three punchless runs up the gut by Barkley, the Packers stated their intentions early — ripping apart James Bettcher’s lifeless defense.
Rodgers led Green Bay to a seven-play, 72-yard drive that was finished off with an eight-yard touchdown connection to Davante Adams.
Shurmur’s genius decision to include the forward pass into the offense on the Giants’ second drive paid off.
Jones completed 6-of-8 passes for 61 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown to Sterling Shepard, in an 11-play, 72-yard drive to tie things up.
During that drive, he set a Giants franchise record for most passing yards by a rookie in a season, passing Charlie Conerly in 1948.
Rodgers would quickly reply, hitting a wide-open Allen Lazard for a 37-yard touchdown just two minutes after New York’s equalizer.
They would extend their lead to 10 early in the second off a rare Jones interception — his first 111 pass attempts — that led to a Packers field goal.
Jones almost single-handedly got the Giants back to within one possession late in the second quarter. He converted a pair of fourth-down attempts with his legs to headline an 18-play drive that lasted over nine minutes, but the Giants only came away with a field goal.
Aldrick Rosas added another field goal with 6:37 left in the third to make it a four-point game, but the Giants’ defense would break when it mattered most. Rodgers unleashed a 13-play drive that spanned between the third and fourth quarters that ended with Adams’ second touchdown of the day, opening Green Bay’s lead back to two possessions.
Jones’ second interception of the day all but iced the Packers’ victory with 11 minutes left in the fourth.
The rookie’s league-leading 20th giveaway was created by Shurmur, who called a nonsensical reverse for Da’Mari Scott, who wasn’t on the roster last week. He fumbled on a 2nd-&-10, creating a 3rd-&-18 situation that forced Jones to try and make the big play. Instead, he found the arms of Darnell Savage.
Eight plays later, the Packers put the game away when Rodgers hit Marcedes Lewis from a yard out.