Joe Judge won’t pin Daniel Jones fumble solely on his quarterback: ‘That’s a team focus right there’

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Fumbling issues have been the Achilles’ heel in Daniel Jones‘ short career, which have cost the New York Giants plenty of football games. The fumbling issue reared its ugly head Sunday, leading to another Giants loss. 

The Giants were trailing by 10 points to the Denver Broncos with 2:58 left in the third quarter. New York was driving deep in Denver territory as Jones took off for a 7-yard run. The Giants quarterback didn’t slide — even though he had the opportunity — and Broncos linebacker Josey Jewell forced the fumble that resulted in a New York turnover. 

The comeback attempt stalled as Jones fumbled for the 30th time in 28 games, the second-most by any player since fumbles were tracked in 1994 (Tony Banks has the most with 34). The Giants never recovered as Teddy Bridgewater drove the Broncos 69 yards for a field goal to give Denver a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead. Denver won 27-13. 

Giants head coach Joe Judge refuses to place all the blame on his quarterback. 

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“We’ve got to do a better job as a team eliminating the penalties and turnovers. That’s a team focus right there, so this isn’t about any one player,” Judge said after the game. “It’s about a team improving and, look, good teams improve week to week. As I talked to the team, that’s what our focus has to be, to be a better team in Week 2 and a better team in Week 3. It’s a long season. 

“We literally have an entire season ahead of us, OK. Any other year, it was 16 games, we have 16 games ahead of us that we have to improve week by week and keep climbing and make sure we’re the best team we can be, all right. So, obviously the first week’s an important game, every game is an important game. We got to make sure that we take the lessons we’ve learned from this game and move forward and make sure that we keep putting a better product out there.”

The Giants had just four penalties for 48 yards (although one was roughing the passer and another was unsportsmanlike conduct) and committed just one turnover, which was Jones’ fumble. That was the play that ultimately sealed the Giants fate, as New York turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing two possessions before scoring a meaningless touchdown with no time left — and the game decided. 

“Obviously, it was a play that stopped a drive right there,” Judge said. “We got to do a better job as a team of having other plays that extend drives and staying on the field. We don’t want to get down there that close and not come away with points. So, obviously finishing drives is a big focus for us as a team. “

Jones know the fumble was costly, having little to say on correcting the matter. Fumbles are still an issue for the Giants quarterback — and a big reason why New York sits at 0-1 with a must-win game against Washington on Thursday night.

“Just protecting the ball better and keeping it tight,” Jones said. “I’ll have to look at it and look at the play. But it’s certainly something I’ve got to improve on and I’ll learn from and keep moving forward.

“Turnovers are always going to hurt you at any point in the game and they’re big plays. We’ve got to do a good job of taking care of the ball and you’ve gotta do a good job. But we’ll keep moving forward and keep improving.”