EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Tommy DeVito will be the Giants' starting quarterback when they face the Dallas Cowboys Sunday in AT&T Stadium, while veteran Matt Barkley will serve as the backup quarterback.
DeVito will be the first rookie free agent to ever start a regular-season game for the Giants in the common draft era (except for Jim Crocicchia in a 1987 strike-replacement game).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, nine undrafted rookie quarterbacks have started an NFL game since 2010, including Chicago's Tyson Bagent this season. The others are Anthony Brown, Devlin Hodges, David Blough, Kyle Allen, Connor Shaw, Matt McGloin, Jeff Tuel and Max Hall.
The combined career record of those nine quarterbacks is 7-20. But in their starting debuts, they were 5-4, including Bagent's victory against the Las Vegas Raiders on Oct. 22. He lost in a starting role the last two weeks at the L.A. Chargers and at New Orleans.
DeVito made his NFL debut against the Jets nine days ago after Tyrod Taylor suffered a rib cage injury. He also entered the game in the second quarter Sunday in Las Vegas after Daniel Jones tore his right anterior cruciate ligament.
In his two outings, DeVito completed 17 of 27 passes for 174 yards, a nine-yard touchdown pass to Wan'Dale Robinson, and two interceptions. He also had 29 rushing yards, including a six-yard touchdown, on eight carries.
Barkley, who was signed to the Giants' practice squad a week ago, has more experience, though not recently. He entered the NFL 10 years ago as a fourth-round draft choice of the Philadelphia Eagles from USC. Barkley has since been with nine teams – including two stints with two teams – though he's played for only the Eagles, Bears and Bills. His career totals include 212 completions on 363 attempts (58.4%) for 2,699 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions for a passer rating of 66.6.
Barkley threw 50 passes while playing in four games for the Eagles in 2013-14. He was traded in 2015 to Arizona and signed as a free agent the following season by Chicago. Barkley's most active season was 2016 when he started six of the seven games in which he played for the Bears. He completed 129 of 216 throws for 1,611 yards, eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Chicago was 1-5 in those games.
Barkley next played on Nov. 11, 2018, when he started in MetLife Stadium against the Jets for the Bills, whose first-year offensive coordinator was Brian Daboll. In his finest NFL outing, he completed 15 of 25 passes for for 232 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 41-10 Buffalo rout. That was the only game he played that season, and it is still his most recent start.
Barkley played as a reserve in two games in 2019 and five in 2020, also under Daboll. His most recent appearance was on Jan. 3, 2021, in the 2020 season finale vs. Miami. Barkley played the entire second half in relief of Josh Allen and completed six of 13 passes, including a 56-yard touchdown to Gabe Davis, in the Bills' 56-26 victory.
Barkley spent the 2021 season with Tennessee, Carolina and Atlanta, and the 2022 season with the Falcons and Bills. He was released by Buffalo on Sept. 21 of this year.
DeVito will be the 31st different quarterback to start for the Giants in the Super Bowl era and will join Taylor as the second to make his starting debut this season.
Eleven of the previous 30 quarterbacks won their first game as a starter, including Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, Super Bowl winners Phil Simms and Jeff Hostetler, and Jones. Colt McCoy was the most recent Giants quarterback to win his first start with the team, at Seattle on Dec. 6, 2020.
*Jones' final pass of the season, a five-yard completion to Parris Campbell, was the 1,900th regular-season attempt of his career. He moved past Tarkenton (1,898) and into fifth place on the franchise's career list.
*Saquon Barkley has rushed for 502 yards in six games (he missed three games with a sprained ankle). His per-game average of 83.7 yards is the NFL's highest among players who have played at least six games.
*Barkley totaled 113 scrimmage yards (90 rushing, 23 receiving) against the Raiders on Sunday. It was his third consecutive game and the 33rd career game in which he had at least 100 yards from scrimmage. That ties him with Hall of Famer Frank Gifford for second on the Giants' career list. Tiki Barber is first with 81.
*The Giants owned the ball for 31:04 in Las Vegas. This season, they are 0-6 when their time of possession is 30 minutes or more, and 2-1 when it is less than 30 minutes.
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