New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll expressed pride in quarterback Daniel Jones after he led them to their first NFL play-off win in 11 years in Sunday’s wild card action.
Jones continued his breakout season by completing 24 of 35 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns, also adding 78 rushing yards as the Giants held off the Minnesota Vikings for a 31-24 upset win.
Jones began the campaign on the back of news that the Giants had not picked up the fifth-year option on his contract after several seasons of struggles in New York, but he has turned that around this term and helped them to a first play-off victory since Super Bowl XLVI.
“I’ve said it all year, he’s been good for us,” Daboll said. “He continues to be good for us. And he played a good game.
“I think there’s a lot of other people that played a good game. I think there’s a lot of other people that played good games too to help him play a good game.
“He’ll be the first to admit it. As the leader of our football team, I’m proud of him.”
Minnesota went ahead with their opening drive but the Giants answered with 17 unanswered points.
The Vikings rallied and tied it up at 24-24 with a field goal early in the fourth quarter.
But Jones then responded with a 67-yard touchdown drive, finished by a one-yard run from Saquon Barkley which proved to the be the game winner.
“I just kind of felt it as the game unfolded and took advantage of some of those opportunities,” Jones said.
“I thought the guys up front did a really good job with the pass rush and opening up some lanes. A lot of credit to them.”
Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 31 of 39 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns, but underthrew to TJ Hockenson late in the game as the Vikings’ final drive stalled.
The Giants will head to the NFC’s top seeds the Philadelphia Eagles in next weekend’s divisional play-offs.
Josh Allen threw three touchdown passes as the Buffalo Bills outlasted the Miami Dolphins 34-31 in their AFC wild card clash.
Allen completed 23 of 39 passes for 352 yards but it still went to the wire, with the Dolphins’ final drive broken up after a delay of game penalty on fourth down in midfield.
“At the end of the day all that matters is winning the game,” Allen said. “If it’s by one or by 100. These are one-week seasons now. Everything you got. Like I said, it’s win or go home.”
Buffalo led 17-3 in the second quarter but Miami – led by rookie seventh-round quarterback Skylar Thompson – hit back after half-time, leading 24-20 after Zach Sieler scooped up Allen’s fumble early in the third quarter.
The Bills will face the Cincinnati Bengals, who made it eight straight wins after Sam Hubbard’s 98-yard fumble return helped them to a 24-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
With the scores tie at 17-17 in the fourth quarter, Baltimore quarterback Tyler Huntley – in for the injured Lamar Jackson – tried to power over the goal line but Logan Wilson knocked the ball loose and Hubbard scooped it up for the longest fumble return in play-off history.
“Credit to Logan Wilson for punching it out,” Hubbard said. “Then it’s just being in the right place at the right time, got a few blocks along the way.
“I was just worried about getting tracked down. I’m glad I made it to the end zone.”