By Curt Macysyn
If Giants’ general manager Jerry Reese could replicate his draft success with Odell Beckham, Jr. with his other selections, then Big Blue could be permanently at the top of the NFC east standings. But with a roster full of question marks, New York needed a win to keep pace with the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins in the lethargic NFC east. With their playoff lives at stake, and in the heat and humidity of South Florida, Big Blue gutted out a victory over the Miami Dolphins 31-24 at Sun Life Stadium.
Observers of the New York Giants know one thing, that the first 58 minutes of the game are not usually the problem. This week, the G-men traded blows with the Miami Dolphins throughout the first three quarters. Then out of nowhere, Odell Beckham split deep coverage for a 84-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth to put the Giants ahead 31-24. But the Giants have been in the exact same place at the exact same time before, but this time the conclusion was different. Thankfully this week, the Giants’ offense closed out the victory on the arm of Manning and a couple of bruising runs by Rashad Jennings.
For most of the night, the Giants rode the arm of Eli Manning, who was accurate throughout the game and finished 27 – 31 for 337 yards and four touchdowns. Manning had a stellar 151.5 quarterback rating. Beckham had seven catches in only nine targets, as the Giants’ offense was efficient all evening.
There was more of a commitment to establishing a running game, as Rashad Jennings had nine rushes for 42 yards in the first half. He finished up with 22 carries for 81 yards (3.7 yards per carry). Andrew Williams had three yards on three attempts. In addition, there was a miscommunication on a hand off by Eli Manning to Williams, which caused a fumble that led to a Miami field goal.
Will Tye caught the first touchdown reception of his career with a four-yard grab to tie the game in the second quarter. Good Rueben Randle showed up this week, as he had five catches on six targets with a touchdown. Beckham was Beckham as the second-year receiver had seven catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns, including his weekly highlight reel catch on a six-yard TD grab in the third.
The offensive line got more aggressive, and withstood the weekly injury to Ereck Flowers, as Manning’s quick release allowed him to be sack-free on the evening.
Well, the Giants did not have an answer for running back Lamar Miller, as Miller scored two first half touchdowns, but the Dolphins went away from an effective rushing attack (5.8 yards per carry), especially in the second half. A couple of planned quarterback rushes by Ryan Tannehill produced results as well, so the abandonment of the ground attack by the Dolphins was a questionable coach’s decision.
For the most part, the secondary played well, minus a 47-yard Tannehill to Kenny Stills touchdown on a blown coverage by Prince Amukamara and Craig Dahl. Otherwise, Dahl patrolled the middle with fervor, while Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and Trevin Wade were particularly strong in coverage against Miami’s dynamic Jarvis Landry. Landry was worn down as Tannehill targeted Odell Beckham’s former roommate 18 times over the course of the evening.
Special Teams: C
Kicker Josh Brown missed another field goal this week, as he pushed a 49-yard attempt in the first half. Jarvis Landry averaged 33 yards on two kickoff returns, and he also had a 20-yard punt return. Evaluation of one or two paragraphs containing at least 100 words.
Ben McAdoo finally got Rashad Jennings 22 carries, and Jennings responded with 81 rushing yards. The running game was vitally important in this game due to the unseasonable heat and humidity. McAdoo could have been satisfied riding Manning’s hot hand (87 percent completion rate), but he mixed in an effective ground attack.
Defensive coordinator did what he could to get pressure on Dolphins’ signal caller Ryan Tannehill. With Damontre Moore being released, Robert Ayers and Jason Pierre-Paul needed to compete effectively throughout the contest, which they did. Spagnuolo also trusted safety Cooper Taylor with some key snaps on the evening, and Taylor was effective with five tackles.
Tom Coughlin effectively challenged Odell Beckham’s six-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter, but then also made a less than intelligent challenge of a Jordan Cameron catch shortly thereafter. With getting that call wrong, the Giants were out of challenges for the remainder of the game.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire, the Giants (6-7) take on the undefeated Carolina Panthers (13-0) at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past four seasons for Examiner.com, and he is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). Born and raised in New Jersey, Curt attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, N.J. and is a graduate of Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Follow him on Twitter @CurtMac23 for the latest NFL and New York Giants news.