GLENDALE, Ariz. — If there was a player who was most symbolic of the Giants’ 31-28 comeback victory over the Cardinals on Sunday at State Farm Stadium, it was Daniel Jones.
The Giants’ quarterback never panicked with his team trailing 20-0 at the half and 28-7 in the third quarter.
“You just saw the poise and also the balance with intensity,’’ Giants tight end Darren Waller said. “That’s what I’ve seen since April and seen all through camps and OTA. That’s the consistent guy that I’ve seen every day. He was the main guy leading the charge.’’
Indeed, Jones engineered the comeback.
He was 9 of 16 for 62 yards with an INT and a passer rating of 39.1 in the first half.
He completed 15 of 21 for 259 yards with two passing TDs and one rushing TD in the second half and finished with a rating of 103.5.
Waller called Jones’ contribution “huge,’’ adding, “It’s exactly what I expected from him. You see him on the sideline when things aren’t going that great and when things are going great and you see the same demeanor. That’s how you know you have a team that can respond, because the guy that’s leading the charge carries himself that way.
“That’s what you need because there are so many ups and downs in this league and you can ride that roller coaster if you want to, but it’s going to wear you out. If you stay in the middle, odds are you’re going to make plays.’’
Jones was in the middle. All night.
“It’s his calmness and his poise, his confidence in himself,’’ said receiver Isaiah Hodgins, who caught an 11-yard TD from Jones to tie the game at 28-28 with 4:25 remaining. “You only act like that when you’re confident. You can’t be poised and lead a team if you’re not confident in yourself. He’s confident because he prepares his ass off the whole week.
“He’s one of the hardest workers, makes sure the wide receivers are on the same page as him. On the touchdown, he gave me that look and said, ‘Be ready.’ ’’
Jones was typically nonchalant about his role in the comeback.
“In the first half, I didn’t take advantage of some opportunities to give guys chances to make plays and we came out in the second half, we found a way to do that and execute better and built off of that,’’ Jones said. “We fought. We were able to keep our heads, stay level-headed. It says a lot about the mental toughness and resilience of this team. No one batted an eye. No one got outside the plan. We trusted it and kept going and made some big plays.
“I think we always remain confident. Just getting back to simple execution, and trusting it, seeing it, and ripping it. We had some opportunities to make plays in the first half. We didn’t do it and I knew that it’d be there. I just had to execute, give our guys a chance to make those plays and we did it and built off of it going forward.”