Keidel: Daniel Jones' run and stumble a microcosm of Giants' 2020 season


In the NFL's version of "Dumb and Dumber," the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles played a plodding football game, one that wound up being a quasi-classic for all the wrong reasons.

If nothing else, we found a counterpart for the “Butt Fumble.”

In a play that could only happen to one of our beloved and beguiling local football clubs, Daniel Jones joined the sacred list of historic blunders. Taking a snap from his own 12-yard-line, Jones scooted around the right edge, dashed downfield, and found himself in a spot few humans ever have - with acres of green grass ahead of him.

Having outrun the entire Eagles defense - an incredibly rare feat for quarterbacks - Jones had the room and the time to enjoy an 88-yard touchdown gallop. But instead of scoring, spinning, and dancing with his teammates, Jones just fell down about ten yards short. No tacklers to touch him, no wet surface to slip on, and no wind to slow him. He...just...dropped.

Why focus on one silly play out of the 127 snaps taken that night? Because it's the perfect emblem of the Giants franchise over the last five to ten years: good enough 80 percent of the way, before falling apart.

The play itself didn't cost the Giants any points, as they miraculously scored a TD without it. If they hadn’t, the play would live in a special orbit of ignominy, but the fact that it happened in another gruesome loss, this one a comeback 22-2 victory for the Eagles, almost forces you to consider the connection. There is something about Philadelphia that brings out the absolute worst from the G-Men.

You can bring up more poignant plays, from the ball that slipped through Evan Engram's fingers to the nth game-killing fumble by Jones. The Eagles also used Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas as a turnstile; every swim move and spin move and bull rush blew past No. 78, with rotating Eagles eager to get a crack at him, whacking Jones around like a piñata in the pocket (though Jones was officially sacked just three times, he could suffer some PTSD from the pounding).

But it all ends the same way - by adding a crooked number to the loss column. And, of course, social media carpet bombed us with an endless loop of laughing commentators who could not call the Jones run without letting a chuckle or two slip out, as they watched their colleagues in the booth doubled-over with delight.

This is yet another time the Giants had an impenetrable lead - 21-10 with six minutes left in the fourth quarter - only to stumble their way to the finish line, failing to break the tape first. And while Jones' historic stumble didn't cost Big Blue six points right there and then, there's always a ripple to things, an unseen, unheard trail.

Some call it the butterfly effect. Maybe the Giants called a play on that truncated drive that they wanted to save for a more vital time in the contest. Maybe a lineman quietly tweaked a tendon or turned an ankle that won't show up on any report but made them slightly less nimble at crunch time. Maybe the Giants could have used those wasted minutes (there are only 60 in a game) later in the night. Maybe the Giants don't blow this game if Jones, normally a fit and fabulous athlete, didn't stumble like Hunter S. Thompson trying to sneak into Circus Circus after inhaling some ether.

It doesn't make you a crackpot or conspiracy theorist to consider these things. This time, the Giants found a new way to blow a game without the high-wire theatrics of DeSean Jackson or last-second scampers by Clyde Simmons or Herm Edwards. They just did it to themselves. Which can make them quite unlucky, or just a 1-6 football team.

Follow Jason Keidel on Twitter: @JasonKeidel

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