LANDOVER, Md. - New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones returned to the lineup Sunday better than ever. He became the first rookie in NFL history with 350-plus passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions, per the Elias Sports Bureau data.
The performance came after Jones missed two games with a high ankle sprain, and it included his throwing the game-winning touchdown pass on the opening possession of overtime in a 41-35 win over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Jones also joined elite company alongside Deshaun Watson and Fran Tarkenton as the third first-year quarterback in NFL history to throw four touchdown passes three times in a season.
Jones finished 28-of-42 passing with 352 yards and five touchdowns and no interceptions.
"He played pretty heroic," coach Pat Shurmur said after Jones played the first clean game of his career.
It came on an afternoon when running back Saquon Barkley also set the franchise record with 279 yards from scrimmage, including a career-high 189 yards on the ground.
Jones, the No. 6 overall NFL draft pick out of Duke in 2019, didn't have a turnover for the first time in his 11 starts this season. He now has 23 touchdown passes and can tie Baker Mayfield's rookie record with four more on Sunday in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jones, 22, had his record-breaking performance Sunday with fellow first-round quarterback Dwayne Haskins on the opposite sideline. The Giants chose Jones over Haskins this past spring, and this was the first of what is expected to be many matchups between them as starters.
It was quite a duel before Haskins left with an ankle injury in the third quarter. Haskins went 12-of-15 passing for 133 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Jones showed no ill effects of the ankle injury that forced him to miss the previous two weeks. He completed eight of his first nine passes (with the only incompletion being a drop by wide receiver Golden Tate) that included a pair of touchdown passes.
"Savage," wide receiver Sterling Shepard said of his rookie quarterback. "That dude is going to be something special."
Jones capped off the effort by hitting tight end Kaden Smith on third-and-goal from the 3-yard line less than six minutes into overtime. It followed a key throw earlier in the drive to Shepard when facing a third-and-long deep in the Giants' own territory.
It was the second game-winning drive of Jones' young career; he also led the Giants to victory late in his first career start in Tampa Bay. This one helped Jones snap an eight-game losing streak as the starter. He hadn't tasted victory since beating the Redskins in late September.
"You see it as a huge opportunity for the team, and you're excited for that," Jones said of leading the team down the field in overtime. "That's kinda what you look forward to and what you play for, is an opportunity to do that. To go down and win the game. I think that's how we all felt."
His teammates were impressed with the way it all went down. Jones didn't flinch late in the contest. They insisted he interacted in the huddle as if it were the third quarter.
The five touchdown passes, no turnovers and game-winning drive were further validation that Jones has made progress since the Giants made the significant investment in him earlier this year.
"Light years," Shurmur said of his progress. "He's going to have a moment in the middle of February somewhere, maybe back home or sitting on his couch here in Hoboken or Weehawken or wherever he lives, and goes, 'Holy smokes, what happened to me?'
"He'll have one of those moments because that is what happens to rookies. He's only going to get better. He's a very talented guy that works hard. He had a good performance [Sunday]."