The Giants had the chance to see both the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins win on Sunday, meaning their Monday night tilt in Miami was for a three-way tie in the NFC East.
Fortunately for Big Blue (6-7), Eli Manning took his talents to South Beach and carved up the Dolphins (5-8), as the Giants’ playoff hopes stayed alive in a thrilling 31-24 win. Credit goes to a Miami squad that was competitive and never looked to mail it in, but it was an even more desperate New York team that needed this win to keep pace with their divisional foes.
Manning was a surgical (27-of-31 for 337 yards, four touchdowns and no picks), as he connected with eight different receivers to keep the Dolphins’ defense off balance. The veteran signal caller started red-hot going 14-of-16 for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, and was equally effective in the second half, when he connected on nine-straight completions to start the third quarter, and didn’t have his first incompletion until the waning seconds of the stanza.
New York needed every bit of Manning’s efficiency to stave off a game Dolphins squad that really has nothing else to play for this season. The future Hall of Famer also set a single-game franchise mark when he completed 87.1 percent of his passes.
Metro takes a look back at a game that Big Blue absolutely needed to have.
What we saw:
- The others stepped up.
Odell Beckham Jr. has essentially been a one-man show in the passing game since entering the league last season. But tonight’s performance showed that there’s more to the offense than just hurling it up to the man nicknamed “OBJ.” Rueben Randle finally awoke from his slumber and produced five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. And while those weren’t flashy numbers, he created enough of a stir that the Dolphins couldn’t focus primarily on Beckham. His six targets were just three less than Beckham’s. Unknown tight end Will Tye also had a presence early, as he added five receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown. The electric wideout certainly managed to destroy Miami’s secondary, as he notched seven catches for 166 yards and two scores, including a beautiful six-yard touchdown reception along the sideline of the end zone, just inches of going out of bounds, and an 84-yard score early in the fourth quarter that proved to be the decisive margin. Beckham’s heroics on the first score were even more impressive considering he was in the locker room getting intravenous care at the start of that drive. His ability to fight through adversity certainly paved the way for his sidekicks to match his intensity.
- Signs of life.
They weren’t running roughshod over the Dolphins, but what they lacked in total yardage, they made up for it with a tough-minded rushing attack that seemed to slowly sap the defense of its energy. There were too many times when Miami defenders – particularly the defensive line – were seen on one knee in between plays or not hustling down the field. The steamy atmosphere certainly had an adverse affect, but it was also the aggressive Big Blue gameplan that wanted to have methodical drives to eventually wear down the defensive front. Rashad Jennings led the way for the Giants as he notched 81 yards on 22 tough carries. It wasn’t a monster game by any stretch, but the patience and forceful nature of his runs seemed to be the tonic the usually-meek Big Blue rushing attack needed. Jennings’s longest run was 21 yards, but it was his between-the-tackles running that was impressive – especially since Big Blue ran right at All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was a non-factor all night.
The Giants finally found a way to end a close game in their favor when their four-minute offense took over and neutralized the Dolphins’ exhausted defense. Jennings grinded out the tough yards, while Manning and Beckham connected on a crucial 3 rd -and-3 at the Miami 44-yard line, with two minutes remaining, to salt away the game. Their final drive began with 4:39 remaining, but Big Blue dug deep and made sure Miami wouldn’t see the ball again. It’s been a long time since the Giants secured a win by relying on ball control and physicality to stamp out a victory, so this could be the springboard they need in gaining confidence as they now look ahead to the unbeaten Carolina Panthers.
Big Blue notes:
- Beckham has 24 touchdown catches through his first 25 career games. It’s such an amazing feat, considering he didn’t begin his career until Week 5 of last season. To put his amazing start into perspective, Patriots all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski is the only receiver within nine touchdowns over that same span.
- Only five tight ends have more yards than undrafted rookie Will Tye’s 165 over the past three weeks.
- Defensive lineman Robert Ayers Jr. has three sacks in his last two games.