The Miami Dolphins are mid-way through their second straight game at MetLife Stadium, this time facing the New York Giants. Miami leads at the break in a game between two clubs looking for early first-round draft picks next spring.
Dolphins 10 - Giants 7
The Dolphins started the game with the ball, feeding running back Patrick Laird early. The running back picked up nine yards on four carries, as well as eight yards on a reception, accounting for five of the team’s first ten plays. Tight end MIke Gesicki added a reception for 12 yards, with a second target nearly caught as former Dolphins turned Giants safety/cornerback Michael Thomas broke up the pass. DeVante Parker recorded a ten-yard reception from Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the drive stalled and Miami attempted a field goal. After being 7-for-8 on field goal attempts last week, Jason Sanders pushed the 49-yard attempt wide right.
New York started with the ball at their own 39-yard line, with Saquon Barkley picking up three yards. Miami’s pass rush showed up during the drive, with a sack on quarterback Eli Manning, making his second consecutive start after being benched in Week 2, on third down appearing to end the drive with a three-and-out, only to have an illegal contact penalty give the Giants a new set of downs. Manning appeared to find Sterling Shepard for a 24-yard gain, but an offensive pass interference penalty backed up New York into a 2nd-and-17. A play later, Miami’s pass rush again showed up, with Sam Eguavoen getting to Manning for a 10-yard loss on a sack that counted, and forcing a punt.
The Dolphins returned to their Laird-heavy game plan on the next possession, with the running back picking up another three carries, though for a net of no gain, and a reception for a three-yard loss that was negated by a defensive holding penalty. Fitzpatrick also found Clive Walford for 19 yards, Albert Wilson for 13- and 8-yards, and attempted to find Parker deep. Laird’s three-yard loss on a 4th-and-1 play from the Giants’ 10-yard line ended the drive and gave New York the ball on the turnover on downs.
Manning immediately attacked the Dolphins secondary, throwing to Kaden Smith for a 27-yard gain on first down. Barkley added another chunk play with a 12-yard run around the offensive right end, then added another five yards on two carries before the end of the quarter. After an incomplete pass on 3rd-and-5 to start the second period, New York punted.
Miami started with the ball at their own 11 yard, with Fitzpatrick looking to Walford for a 15-yard gain. Myles Gaskin rushed for two yards before Fitzpatrick took over, rushing for 13 yards to take over the team lead in rushing yards this season. Then, after a false start on Albert Wilson, he connected with Wilson for 10 yards, Isaiah Ford for six yards, Gesicki for six yards, Wilson for 21 yards, and then threw a fastball down the middle to Parker for the touchdown. Dolphins 7-0.
It did not take long for the Giants to respond, despite an incomplete pass and a run for no gain to start the possession. After a defensive pass interference penalty on Nate Brooks, the Giants lined up at their own 49-yard line. A pass from Manning to Golden Tate, with the receiver bouncing off multiple defenders, ended in a 51-yard touchdown. Tied 7-7.
After a sack started the possession, Miami picked up 24 yards on a pass from Fitzpatrick to Gesicki down the seam. The drive would stall then though, only picking up eight more yards through a Gaskin run and a reception from Wilson, before Miami had to punt.
The Giants started with Barkley, running for 12 yards on three carries at the beginning of the drive. Manning then looked to Shepard for three yards before Manning threw to Barkley for six yards. After the 2-minute warning, New York, facing 3rd-and-1 from their own 22 saw Barkley break through the middle for 11 yards, then saw him catch a pass in the flat for another eight yards. After a holding penalty backed up the Giants, Manning looked toward Shepard, but telegraphed the pass and Vince Biegel stepped in front for his first career interception.
Starting at the Giants 28-yard line, Miami would move down to the Giants’ six-yard line behind Fitzpatrick passes to Laird, Parker, and Allen Hurns. After appearing to be lined up to go for it on 4th-and-1, Miami let the play clock run down and called a timeout. With no offsides penalty to give a free first down, Miami settled for a field goal. Dolphins 10-7.
The Giants looked to answer with a two-minute drill, starting with a pass from Manning to Smith for nine yards. Then Manning looked to Barkley for 11 yards. After an incomplete pass, Manning looked deep toward Tate, but Needham picked off the pass and returned it 23 yards as the clock ran out on the half.
The Dolphins are going to Patrick Laird early and often in this game.
Fitzpatrick is now the leading rusher for the Dolphins on the season. Yes, it’s that weird a year for Miami.
Fitzpatrick is throwing pure heat today. It is just fastball after fastball, and the Dolphins are, for the most part, coming up with some good catches. A few solid pass breakups and at least one bad drop, but the passing game is working so far.
Of course, Parker with the touchdown reception. The Dolphins found out this year they have a number one receiver - and if Preston Williams returns to full health and reaches his potential, they may actually have two number one receivers.
The defense is playing well, getting pressure on Manning and forcing turnovers.