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Eli Manning threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz with 5:58 remaining in the game for the New York Giants, to beat the Miami Dolphins in a 20-17 home victory, avoiding a big letdown.
“The objective was to be 5-2 and we are now 5-2,” Giants’ Head Coach Tom Coughlin said in his post-game press conference.
The Giants (5-2) win was summed up best by CBS game-analyst Dan Dierdorf. “The Kracken has been released,” Dierdorf proclaimed referring to New York’s fourth-quarter pass attack fury following Mathias Kiwanuka’s sack of Quarterback Matt Moore – the Giants’ fourth and final huge sack of the quarter. Meanwhile, it was Moore’s heroics in the first-half in that kept Miami (0-7) afloat, “channeling his inner Michael Vick,” in the ‘Phin’s gritty and gutty attempt to come away with their first win of the season.
Moore’s Vick and Cinderella-like first-half performance struck midnight at the same time the Giant’s seamlessly awoken on both sides of the football. Reggie Bush was held to just 15 yards rushing following a huge first-half in which he compiled 88 rushing yards. Cruz, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks and Jake Ballard converted big plays in Manning’s efficient passing attack throughout the second-half comeback special.
Manning completed 31 of 45 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns in rallying the Giants from a sluggish 11-point first-half deficit. Manningham caught the other touchdown for 7-yards, which got New York (5-2) back on track late in the first half. Lawrence Tynes kicked two short field goals, and New York’s defense got five sacks total, four on the Dolphins’ final two drives. Corey Webster iced the game with his third interception in the last two games.
The Giant’s run game continued to be unimpressive as Ahmad Bradshaw struggled and was a bit hobbled by a foot injury that kept him on the sidelines for a portion of the game. Brandon Jacobs, playing the first time in 4 weeks, did very little to make his case for his desire for a bigger role in the offense, while Bradshaw sat out.
Aaron Ross had another very needed impressive game at corner. Jason Pierre-Paul looked terrific as he was back at his usual snap-count amount with Justin Tuck back in action. The offensive linemen were brilliant in pass protection for Manning, but certainly have room to improve in their share of the run game that continued to disappoint this week.
Manning, Cruz, the entire O-Line (solely for their pass protection).
Webster, Kiwanuka, Michael Boley.
Chris Snee returned to action following his Week Six concussion. Tuck returned for his third game of the season – though he and Jacobs used on what seemed to be a relatively restricted snap count. Bradshaw and David Baas were banged up but both returned to action before too-long. Henry Hynoski was inactive for a second consecutive game, and rookie corner Prince Amukamara was inactive again, hopefully for the final time this season as he will look to make his NFL debut next week.
Had his best game in his brief Giant career, making a big play at corner where he saw some action featured in some dime defense packages, as well as a few notable plays to help out another impressive performance by the Giant’s special teams unit.
The Giants now head to New England to face Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots for the first time since the Giant’s Super Bowl XLII victory over the “perfect” 19-0 (19 -1 when all was said and done, mind you) 2007 Pats. New England is just the start of a brutal second-half schedule for the Giants that follows with games at San Francisco, home against Philadelphia, at New Orleans and home against Green Bay.