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Duke in the NFL: Jones leads Giants to tie, Tomlinson plays season-high snaps for Jets

Laken Tomlinson registered a season-best 85 snaps for the Jets.
Laken Tomlinson registered a season-best 85 snaps for the Jets.

Following the conclusion of Week 13 of the NFL season, the Blue Zone looks at a few former Blue Devils and how they performed for their teams:

Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

Heading into a pivotal rivalry matchup against the Washington Commanders Sunday, Daniel Jones and the Giants looked to stop their mid-season skid, having lost three of their past four games. While New York didn’t lose its battle against a fellow NFC East playoff contender, it didn’t win either, earning the dreaded result of a 20-20 tie.

As has been the story all season long, Jones had a mixed day. His surface-level statistics were excellent, as he completed 25-of-31 attempts for 200 yards and a touchdown for a crisp 104.3 passer rating while rushing for 71 yards. However, he took four sacks, and ESPN gave Jones a low 31.9 QBR, indicative of his shortcomings Sunday afternoon. The Giants’ first drive ended with a Jones fumble, giving the Commanders great field position to kick a field goal 10 plays later. Jones would get the offense going later in the game with four-straight scoring drives to earn a 20-13 lead, capped off by a six-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter to wideout Isaiah Hodgins. 

However, the Giants wouldn’t score a single point on their next seven possessions. Offensive line penalties and untimely sacks on Jones proved to be the name of the game in the fourth quarter, as Washington would equalize the score to head into overtime. On the final possession of overtime, Jones set up kicker Graham Gano for a 58-yard game-winner, but Gano missed short to put New York at 7-4-1 on the year. Jones and the Giants hope to find their groove and revive their team from the injury plague as they take on the NFL-best 11-1 Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday.

Laken Tomlinson, G, New York Jets

The Jets have employed a cesspool of quarterbacks and running backs throughout their surprisingly good 2022 season, but Laken Tomlinson has remained a constant presence, and never more so than in Sunday’s close loss to Minnesota. The former Pro Bowler blocked for his third starting quarterback of the year, Mike White, as well as the Jets’ third primary running back, rookie Zonovan Knight. Thanks to game script, Tomlinson played a season-high 85 snaps Sunday afternoon. Tomlinson and the Jets’ offensive line allowed just one sack on White while paving the way for Knight to average an excellent six yards per carry. The Jets barely sit within the playoff picture following their loss to the Vikings, and must take on the red-hot 9-3 Bills next Sunday.

Matt Skura, OL, Los Angeles Rams

With the Rams spiraling out of control following their Super Bowl win, in part due to offensive line injuries, Matt Skura has stepped up at the left guard position. The former Blue Devil started his third game of the year in place of an injured David Edwards, playing all 64 snaps in Los Angeles’ close 23-27 loss to Seattle. Skura and the Rams’ offensive line had a rough day in pass protection, allowing four sacks on backup signal-caller John Wolford, but were better in run blocking, paving the way for running back Cam Akers to pick up two scores on the ground. With Edwards’ status in question for next week, Skura may take on action against the Raiders Thursday night to attempt to provide a consolation win for the Rams’ lost season.

Michael Carter II, CB, New York Jets

Since being drafted by the Jets in 2021, Michael Carter II has played a valuable contributing role to a quickly improving secondary. With the Jets’ four starting defensive backs playing nearly every snap during Sunday’s loss to the Vikings, the opportunities for Carter were limited. The slot cornerback still played 46% of snaps, registered four tackles including a tackle for loss, and a pass deflection.

Noah Gray, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs and Noah Gray were looking to secure their hold on the AFC’s No. 1 seed heading into a revenge matchup against the Bengals Sunday, but lost a heartbreaking 24-27 contest in Cincinnati. For his part, Gray caught his only target of the day for a 15-yard gain midway through the second quarter. Gray played 58% of offensive snaps and 52% of special teams snaps on the day, once again playing as a contributor to a crowded tight end room headed by Travis Kelce. Gray and the 9-3 Chiefs look to rebound next week against the 3-9 Broncos in Denver.


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