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Giants 31, Dolphins 24: "Kudos & Wet Willies" review

Who deserves praise and who deserves criticism after Monday's victory by the Giants over the Miami Dolphins?

Odell Beckham's masterful 6-yard touchdown catch on Monday
Odell Beckham's masterful 6-yard touchdown catch on Monday
Chris Trotman/Getty Images


A victory to celebrate! It's been a while since the New York Giants had one of those. Let's break down the critical 31-24 win over the Miami Dolphins in our traditional "Kudos & Wet Willies" style. As you might guess, the list of "Kudos" is pretty lengthy.

Kudos to ...

Eli Manning -- We have been waiting for the two-time Super Bowl MVP to deliver that type of clutch performance, and Monday night he absolutely. Manning went an incredible 27-of-31 for 337 yards, four touchdowns and nearly perfect passer rating of 151.5. Manning also stepped into the Giants' leadership void, delivering an impassioned and much-needed speech to his teammates during the week leading up to the game. Manning then went out and backed up his call to action with what might have been the best regular-season game of his career.

Odell Beckham Jr. -- What can you say about this guy? I'm not even going to go into all of the records Beckham has set -- or is close to setting. I will save that for another post. Along with Manning, Beckham came up huge when the Giants needed him. He had seven catches for 166 yards and two TDs. His 6-yard touchdown catch was a beautiful piece of footwork, and a tremendous display of hand strength to control the ball. Beckham wasn't 100 percent, playing sick, but did everything his team needed. He also made a brilliant 5-yard catch at the two-minute mark to seal the deal for the Giants. Just a brilliant, brilliant player.

Rashad Jennings -- Finally! A Giants' running back allowed to settle in and accept a heavy workload. Jennings ran well early, earned his opportunity to be the workhorse and excelled in the fourth quarter. His determined 12-yard run set up Beckham's 84-yard touchdown catch. His pwerful 3-yard run on third-and-2 with 3:56 left -- with a crunching block from Nikita Whitlock leading the way -- allowed the Giants to run out the clock.He finished with season highs of 22 carries and 81 yards.

Offensive line -- Manning was never sacked. While some of that was due to his getting rid of the ball in an insanely quick 2.26 seconds, when he wanted to throw the ball down the field he was given time to hold it. While not perfect, the line did enough in the running game to give the Giants the balance they crave. Ereck Flowers deserves a ton of credit, playing well until his gimpy ankle gave out late in the game. John Jerry had an awful run block grade of -5.6, but he did spend much of the night matched up wth Ndamukong Suh. Jerry did well in pass protection.

Rueben Randle -- What a difference it makes when the much-maligned wide receiver is more than an afterthought in the offense. The Giants got Randle involved early, and he made that pay off, with five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Question is, why can't the Giants make sure they get him involved early all the time?

Will Tye -- This guy simply swallows up the ball when it's thrown to him. It's like the ball disappears into his big hands and broad chest. Larry Donnell? Sometimes guys just need to seize the opportunity when it presents itself, and the rookie from Stony Brook certainly had. Five catches for 30 yards and a touchdown Monday for Tye.

Tom Coughlin -- For a lot of reasons. For doing what he always seems to be able to do when his team has its back pressed all the way up against the wall -- getting a great effort from his players. He won a critical challenge on Beckham's toe-dragging touchdown. His end of game decisions worked out. And, the 69-year-old Coughlin showed that he can still take a hit.

How can you not admire a guy his age who takes a hit like that, then bounces up like nothing happened and goes right back to work?

Giants' defense -- Let's give credit where credit is due. The Giants' defense isn't very good. They missed a gazillion tackles Monday. They caught a couple of breaks with Miami penalties and with Ryan Tannehill missing a couple of opportunities for big plays down the field. Still, though, the defense got a pair of fourth-quarter stops with the Giants leading by a touchdown. A huge play by safety Craig Dahl on third-and-20 after Coughlin had accepted a holding penalty to push Miami out of field goal range stopped the first Dolphins' possession. Aided by a Jarvis Landry unnecessary roughness penalty, the Giants forced a three-and-out on Miami's final possession.

Jason Pierre-Paul -- There are plays that Pierre-Paul simply cannot make with that massive club on his damaged right hand. One of those was on the 38-yard touchdown run by Lamar Miller, where JPP had one hand on Miller, but didn't have a second hand to corral him. Still, Pierre-Paul is a force. Moving him to the opposite end has been a brilliant decision. It allows him to get into a comfortable stance, to use his quickness and athletic ability to be disruptive. He still doesn't have a sack, but Pierre-Paul had a hit, four hurries and a fumble recovery on Monday.

Landon Collins -- I wrote this in the "Ten things we learned" post, but the rookie safety has really played well since dropping that game-changing interception against the New England Patriots. Seven tackles and a forced fumble last night with a beautiful hit. The Giants could really have themselves a player if they can ever pair him with a true free safety.

Wet Willies to ...

Andre Williams -- I almost feel bad killing Williams here. Almost. Because the way the Giants are using him is not his fault. The running back rotation is killing Williams, a physical grinder who needs more than a couple of carries to be effective. He isn't going to get them the way the Giants are going about their business. Three carries for three yards and a costly fumble. C'mon, Andre, you have got to at least be able to get your arms in the proper position to secure a handoff!

It is crystal clear at this point that Williams is the fourth-best of the Giants' four running backs. Why he continues to get snaps that should be going to Orleans Darkwa is impossible to understand. Kill Coughlin for that if you want, but the truth is we don't ultimately know who is making that decision. It could be Coughlin, certainly. It could be offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. It could be GM Jerry, who drafted Williams, overruling the coaching staff. Coughlin has also tended over the years to allow the position coaches to determine playing rotations, so it could be running backs coach Craig Johnson. Whatever, it's just brutally obvious to everyone who IS NOT making the decision that Darkwa should be playing ahead of Williams.

Prince Amukamara -- Gotta love Prince and be glad he is back in the lineup after missing several games with a torn pec. He was not good, however, on Monday. He got all turned around on the 47-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills, and really had no luck covering anybody. He gave up four receptions for 82 yards and had a passer rating against of 158.3, the highest possible score.

Me -- Why? For scheduling an hour-long dentist appointment the morning after a Giants Monday night game. What on earth was I thinking?