This one was a little too close for comfort. As many have noted, the Giants tend to play at the level of their opponent, and the Dolphins record may have lulled the Giants into a false sense of superiority. Apparently, coach Coughlin’s warnings about taking the Dolphins lightly went unheeded for most of the first half. The Giants’ inability to stop the run gave Reggie Bush his best running day as a pro since..the last time he played the Giants when he was with the Saints in 2006. Oh, well. A win is a win. Our review follows.
Offensively, it doesn’t appear as if the Giants have figured out how to effectively run the ball. This may prove to be problematic going forward, as opposing defenses will have the ability to pin their ears back and go after Eli Manning as he steps back to pass. 23 attempts for 58 yards ain’t gonna cut it as the tough part of the schedule begins.
The passing game looks good. Eli was positively Manning-like in his skills (almost Peyton-like), with a line that reads 31-45, for 349 yards, 2TD’s, and no INT’s. At times, Manning had all the time in the world to pick out his receivers and pick up the first down. The receivers all stepped up, and other than the one drop by Jake Ballard it looks as if the passing game is firing on all cylinders. If the Giants can get the running game going, it will be extremely difficult to stop them.
Defensively, the Giants struggled early in the game, but came up big at the end. Corey Webster’s interception was icing on the cake, but the real story was consecutive sacks on Matt Moore for losses of 20 yards that set up a third and 30. The Giants made the necessary adjustments, and were able to effectively shut down the Dolphins rushing attack as the game wore on. Perry Fewell finally unleashed the defense, and they came through with inspired play in the second half. After a hot start, Matt Moore cooled off, and the G-Men held Brandon Marshall to 4 catches and no TD’s.
Special teams also played well, other than the poor coverage on the kickoff return after the go-ahead TD. That certainly caused some heart palpitations among the faithful, but the defensive unit came through. Lawrence Tynes converted the two PAT’s and the field goals, and the punting game was solid. The only bad part was the seven penalties that Giants took, which we will attribute to sloppiness after the bye week.
Bottom line: The Giants passing game looks great, and Manning was only sacked once, although he was pressured and hit on a few occasions. The rushing game is still non-existent, and the Giants still appear to have their troubles in stopping opposing teams from running wild. The Giants did control the clock, holding onto the ball for 32 minutes and 26 seconds. If there was a cause for concern, towards the end of the game the Giants needed to eat up some time and prevent the Dolphins from working some late game magic. Instead, a false start penalty pushed the Giants back, and they followed up with a couple of incomplete passes and a screen that fell short of the first down. All of this failed to eat any time off of the clock, and could have caused the Giants problems if the defensive unit had failed to step up. Give the Dolphins credit. They battled the Giants, and didn’t quit playing for 60 minutes. My wife’s suggestion that team colors of aqua and orange being the deciding factor nearly came true. A win is a win. Now comes the hard part.
At the 7 game mark, the Giants have held to form. They are 5-2, which is pretty much where