According to NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Daniel Jones’ 80-yard explosion against the Eagles on Thursday night was clocked at a blistering 21.23 miles per hour, the fastest speed reached by a quarterback this season. The end result wasn’t what Jones had hoped for—the sophomore signal-caller slipped on an imaginary banana peel, costing himself an easy six points. Danny Dimes added another blunder to his lowlight reel in the fourth quarter, displaying nonexistent pocket awareness as Brandon Graham stripped him on the game’s final possession, clinching a come-from-behind 22-21 Eagles victory at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Jones probably poured himself a stiff drink (or several) to dull the pain of Thursday night’s collapse, the Giants’ eighth straight loss to their division rival. But let’s not downplay what was—up until he face-planted like Chris Farley playing Matt Foley on SNL—one of the most remarkable scrambles in football this year. Jones is a decent-enough athlete for his position—he ran a workable 4.81 forty at the NFL Combine in 2019—but where did this shot-out-of-cannon speed suddenly come from? Among quarterbacks, only Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson have outgained Jones on the ground this year. In fact, Jones has compiled more rushing yards (296) through seven games than his predecessor Eli Manning had over his final 10 seasons combined (287).
Remarkably, Jones’ top speed Thursday nearly equaled Tyreek Hill’s 21.29-mph burst against the Chargers earlier this year. Routinely considered the fastest receiver in football (though you could also make cases for Henry Ruggs and Hill’s Kansas City teammate Mecole Hardman), the 26-year-old was a state champion sprinter in high school, blazing a career-best time of 9.98 (wind-aided) in the 100-meter dash. We know “Cheetah” has more in the tank if he needs it—Tyreek once legged out a 23.24-mph kickoff return, the fastest surge we’ve seen since the NFL first began documenting ball-carrier speed in 2016. But for Jones to even be in the same hemisphere as Hill is quite the accomplishment.
Jones may be the fastest quarterback we’ve witnessed in 2020, though he’ll have to kick it up a few notches to match 49ers running back Raheem Mostert, owner of the two fastest sprints in the NFL this year (23.09 and 22.73 mph, respectively). Jones’ extraordinary speed also doesn’t erase his gaffe against the Eagles, which earned the Duke alum some well-deserved ribbing on social media. As suggested by ESPN’s Pablo Torre and executed to perfection by Bengals kicker Randy Bullock earlier this year, perhaps Jones should have faked an injury to save himself the embarrassment of being tackled by a phantom defender.