LANDOVER, Md. — Undrafted quarterback Tommy DeVito isn’t just starting games for his hometown New York Giants — he’s setting franchise records.
DeVito, a New Jersey native who is living at home during his rookie season, threw three touchdown passes in a 31-19 win over the Washington Commanders on Sunday at FedEx Field. He now has five touchdown passes in his first two career starts. That is the most by any Giants quarterback through his first two NFL starts since starters were first tracked in 1950, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
DeVito threw a pair of touchdown passes in last week’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
“I did not [know it was a franchise record],” DeVito admitted afterward. “Like I said, it’s all about the playcalling and executing the plays. Sometimes we get got by the defense, different coverage vs. what we don’t want, and it’s up to me to make the right decision and put us in a good situation.
“But when we have the defense that we want vs. certain plays, my job is easy. I just give it to the guys in space and let them do what they do. And they made it easy for me [Sunday].”
DeVito threw a pair of touchdown passes to running back Saquon Barkley and another to wide receiver Darius Slayton. He finished 18-of-26 passing for 246 yards with three touchdown passes and no interceptions. It helped the Giants snap a three-game skid.
He did it despite being sacked nine times by the Commanders. DeVito is the first starting quarterback to be sacked at least nine times and win since Randall Cunningham in Week 15 of the 1992 season. It’s quite the contrast from DeVito’s first NFL game, when he came in against the New York Jets in place for the injured Tyrod Taylor and threw for minus-1 yard in almost three quarters. It sparked questions about whether the Giants trusted him to throw the ball.
“I definitely think he’s proving people wrong,” Barkley said. “We know what he’s capable of doing. It’s the NFL, the National Football League. You don’t get here by accident. He’s a great football player, and he’s stepping up and making a lot of plays for us.”
Barkley came off the field with his arm around the 25-year-old rookie and screamed, “Jerseyyyy!!!” It’s a refrain that was repeated by coach Brian Daboll in his postgame news conference.
What they’re referring to is the attitude and confidence that DeVito has displayed ever since joining the Giants after the draft. He has earned the respect of those around him.
“For me, even the game where [it was] the first game he got in, he might have not thrown the ball that much, [but] just the confidence he came in with. The swagger that he has. I thought it goes a long way, especially with me,” Barkley said. “I’m familiar with that going back to college [at Penn State] playing with a guy like Trace McSorley. Kind of has that same mentality. You can see it and it shows when he goes out there and plays.”
The Commanders didn’t seem all that impressed after losing at home to the undrafted rookie.
“He didn’t do anything special,” Washington cornerback Benjamin St-Juste said. “We let some guys run free so that’s not anything special. That’s more on our end. The defense put a lot of pressure on him.”
DeVito now has six touchdown passes and three interceptions in four appearances. He will get at least one more start next week against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. Perhaps more.
Taylor (rib cage) is eligible to return on Dec. 11 after the bye week for a Monday night game against the Green Bay Packers. The Giants (3-8) also signed quarterbacks Matt Barkley and Jacob Eason in recent weeks.
“I was asked a fair amount of questions about bringing in some other guys,” Daboll said. “I felt like [DeVito] was a good young player to work with. Again, he’s played 2½ games so there is a lot of work to be done. But he certainly has put the work in.
“When he was on the look-team in practice you could see some of the instinctiveness as the show-team quarterback in terms of throwing the ball on time and anticipation. So thought he’d be a good player to work with and give an opportunity to. There is a lot of things he did good and a lot of things we can help him improve on.”
Daboll specifically mentioned the nine sacks and how a bunch of them were on DeVito. The Giants will work with him on that, but the young quarterback gave them a chance to win and seemed to give the defense a mental jolt with his early success; that unit forced five turnovers (the special teams added one as well).
New York came into Sunday ranked 32nd in offense and scoring. The Giants hadn’t topped 20 points in nine games.
“I thought the first quarter he came out and was pretty dynamic in the passing game. And that really sparked just … everything,” defensive captain Bobby Okereke said. “Defensively, we felt confident going out there knowing the offense was going to strike back if they struck us. It was just great complementary football all the way around.”