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NFL

Tommy DeVito Is A Two-Time Winner

Tommy DeVito stands on the field with his hand over his heart
Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

The NFL is plagued by self-appointed quarterback observers who love to identify offenses led by subpar signal-callers. They point at those teams. They go on television and ask, "What's wrong with this team's quarterback?" They write about said teams on their blogs. Ending up in their crosshairs is a sure sign that a franchise is in a tailspin.

There is only one effective method for shaking questions and accusations from these people: winning games. Therein lies the struggle. If you are a bad quarterback who craves love and relief, it is difficult to win, because you are a bad quarterback. It's simply not in your nature. But sometimes the schedule helps out a little, and sometimes it helps out a lot—like a QB in trouble getting back-to-back weeks with the friendliest possible opponents right before heading into the bye.

Since being called into action for the Giants, Tommy DeVito has been a quarterback who inspires plenty of memes but little faith. In his debut appearance against the Jets, his coaches appeared afraid to let the undrafted 25-year-old hold the ball for more than one second, and the Giants fell in overtime while DeVito threw seven passes for -1 yards. The Raiders, fresh off the high of shedding Josh McDaniels, used Daniel Jones and then DeVito as punching bags in a 30-6 blowout. And the Cowboys sacked him five times, which was actually an improvement for him, en route to a 49-17 stomping. The DeVito era did not seem destined for great things.

But in Washington, even as the Giants' front again laid down and let the defense step over them on their way to the backfield, a butterfingered game from the Commanders allowed a less mistake-prone DeVito to steal his first career victory. Then on Sunday, finally back at home, DeVito won the easiest quarterback duel he's likely to have, as the New England Patriots missed a field goal at the buzzer to lose 10-7. As an NFL starter, Tommy DeVito is now 2-1.

The Giants' rainy day started unpromisingly, as DeVito botched a handoff on an end-around to deliver the game's first turnover. But Pats starter Mac Jones took it from there, tossing a pair of ugly INTs before being replaced yet again by Bailey Zappe. DeVito himself left plenty to be desired as the game remained scoreless—the Patriots' rush tormented both him and running back Saquon Barkley, continuously forcing him into third-and-longs that he just didn't have the playmaking ability to convert. But near the end of the first half, aided by a short field following a pick, DeVito finally broke through. With help from Isaiah Hodgins, who broke a tackle well short of the sticks, DeVito's passing TD put the Giants ahead by seven and let them break out the "molto bene" celebration.

Zappe's arrival brought with it a brief spark. But he, too, made the critical error that DeVito consistently avoided: throwing the ball to the wrong-colored jersey. Taking over at the Patriots' 32, the Giants ground out one first down and then kicked the go-ahead field goal. With a chance to send the game to overtime, Chad Ryland's foot was not up to the feat, and the Giants celebrated for the second week in a row while the Patriots sunk deeper into the AFC's graveyard. DeVito, the New Jersey kid who still lives at home and loves his mother's chicken cutlet, earned at least one moment of triumph in front of the local fans who, for right now, are happy enough with the results.

"All of this, it's fun—a little bit surreal, and fun," DeVito said after the game. "But the football is all that matters. Nothing else matters if the football isn't any good."

Plenty of people will disagree with the assertion that the football on display in Giants-Patriots was "any good," but what DeVito really means is that his guys got more points than the other guys. The actual play-to-play performance remained horrendous, but unlike his counterparts, DeVito's refusal to completely self-destruct meant he was the one who crossed the finish line intact and victorious. Sometimes in this game, fortune smiles, the other guy is worse, and you're a hero by default. There's never a bad way to win.

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