It has been that kind of season for the struggling franchise. Even good news -- such as perhaps the best performance of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones' career -- comes with a caveat.
Jones played his first clean game without a turnover and threw five touchdown passes, but the Giants (4-11) still might have played themselves out of contention for the No. 2 overall pick in next year's draft with a thrilling win against the Washington Redskins. That could mean no chance at Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young.
The Redskins (3-12) are now in prime position for the No. 2 overall pick and perhaps should be considered front-runners for Young, who ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay recently described as the best pass-rushing prospect since Von Miller. Of course, nobody on the field or the sideline would talk about draft position. They have pride and a job to do.
And the Giants will head into the holiday week with optimism. Jones, back after missing two games with a high ankle sprain, was at the top of his game. He looked every bit the franchise quarterback the Giants hoped they were getting when they selected him sixth overall in the draft ahead of Washington’s Dwayne Haskins.
Jones went 28-for-42 for 352 yards with five TD passes and no turnovers.
Haskins also had a strong game -- perhaps on his way to the best of his career -- before leaving with an ankle injury in the third quarter. He was 12 of 15 for 133 yards and two passing touchdowns before giving way to Case Keenum.
The Giants finally found ways to maximize Barkley's skills in the pass game. He had two receptions of more than 30 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown in the first half. Barkley had a 51-yard gain on a screen pass in the third quarter.
This has been a missing piece to his game. Barkley came into Sunday averaging 29.4 yards receiving per game. He finished with 90 on four catches against the Redskins. He also ran for 189 yards on 22 carries.
Troubling trend: The Giants' rookie cornerbacks seemed to be trending in the right direction in recent weeks. But Sunday was perhaps a reality check. First-round pick DeAndre Baker and sixth-round selection Corey Ballentine had their struggles.
Baker found himself matched against Redskins' standout rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin most of the game. He couldn't stop him. McLaurin finished with seven catches on nine targets for 86 yards. Baker allowed four of those receptions and Redskins quarterbacks were 8-for-9 for 98 yards and a pass interference penalty when targeting him Sunday. Baker did make a tackle for a loss in the first half.
Ballentine, meanwhile, allowed two touchdowns and a huge 32-yard reception on third-and-long late in the fourth quarter. He also had a pass interference penalty in the end zone on that score-tying drive.
It was a step backward for the two rookies.