Giants vs. Dolphins: 3 Game Balls


The Giants needed a win Monday night, and, well, they got it. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest of games—an early back and forth that ended with a second half offensive surge for New York. The Giants had some nice unexpected performances from the likes of Rashad Jennings and Reuben Randle among others, but there were a couple of stars that really shined Monday. You could probably take a guess who the first was

Odell Beckham

Dec 14, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr (13) celebrates his fourth quarter touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Duyos-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not really sure what to say about Beckham. He’s just such a sensational talent and it’s actually fascinating to watch what he could do on a football field. His first touchdown catch showed next-to-impossible field awareness, and once he broke free against Miami’s secondary, his 84-yard score was almost too easy.

His two scores and fourth quarter third down catch that sealed the deal saved the game for the Giants—that and Eli’s performance of course. Beckham’s posted 100+ receiving yards in six straight games and has the matchup of the year against Josh Norman coming up. If anyone can slow Beckham down, it’d be Norman, but at this point I’m not even sure he can.

Eli Manning

Speaking of Eli… he too was terrific in this one. Four touchdowns, and just four incompletions on his way to a key win that kept the Giants in first. Manning certainly got some help from Odell Beckham, but he made Beckham’s two TD’s come to life by hitting him in stride on an 84-yard catch and run, and making a pinpoint throw only Beckham could reach on the right side of the end zone (a throw I don’t think Manning is getting enough credit for making). One of the most underrated parts of Manning’s game is his ability to find so many different receivers over the course of the game. Eight different Giants caught passes on Monday night, and he once again showed he could turn relative unknowns like Will Tye and Dwayne Harris into solid offensive contributors. And Manning did this all with a banged up offensive line—very impressive.

If the season were to end today, Eli would post his highest single-season completion percentage (63.8) and lowest interception total (10) since 2008. Odell Beckham is the Giants’ playmaker, but Manning’s been the one who has kept New York in the playoff run with his consistent play all season long. He once again showed nothing but excellence Monday night.

Robert Ayers

Sep 25, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Giants defensive end Robert Ayers (91) sacks San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) during the first half at Metlife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/NJ Advance Media for via USA TODAY Sports

Ayers is quietly putting together a productive season. Despite battling nicks and injuries through most of it, he’s been a consistent force along the Giants’ defensive front, and he put on another strong showing Monday night. A tackle, a sack, and consistently pressuring Ryan Tannehill when Ayers actually made it on the field—he went into the game with a questionable tag due to a neck injury.

Miami scored just once in the second half Monday, and on their final four possessions, they generated just one drive over 20 yards, punting on all four. The defense stifled an inaccurate and somewhat erratic Ryan Tannehill, and it was Ayers along with Jason Pierre-Paul who was moving Tannehill all around the pocket.

In nine games, Ayers has five sacks—just half a sack off his career-high. The Giants, as a team, have taken down the QB sixteen times this year. Yes, that’s sixteen in thirteen games. Without much help from his teammates, Ayers is finding a way to get to the quarterback, and it showed Monday night when Tannehill and the Miami offense slowed down as the game went on. Ayers was a big part of that.