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Giants-Dolphins: 5 plays of note

Syndication: Palm Beach Post Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants fell to 1-4 after their 31-16 road-defeat against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. For the second consecutive week - and third time this season - the Giants offense failed to score a touchdown. Quarterback Daniel Jones exited the game in the fourth quarter with a neck injury after he suffered his sixth sack of the game.

New York played eight offensive linemen in the game. Matt Peart replaced the struggling Joshua Ezeudu at right tackle in the fourth quarter. Both practice squad call-ups - Jaylon Thomas and Jalen Mayfield - played after Ben Bredeson and Marcus McKethan exited the game.

Murphy’s law continues to apply for the Giants offense. A glass half-full opinion on the offense could be the mini-breakout of tight end Darren Waller, who caught 8 of 11 targets for 88 yards.

A defense typically wouldn’t warrant praise after surrendered 31 points and 524 yards, but they forced three turnovers against the best statistical offense in the league. Linebacker Bobby Okereke was the impetus for both interceptions; he tipped one that led to the pick-six by safety Jason Pinnock and he intercepted Tua Tagovailoa’s overthrow to Jaylen Waddle later in the game.

The defense almost scored as much as the Giants offense. The defense did struggle to contain the explosiveness of Miami’s offense. Runs to the edge by De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert beset the Giants, and a blown Xavier McKinney coverage assignment led to a 69-yard touchdown for Tyreek Hill against rookie sixth-round pick Tre Hawkins III.

Beat up, battered, and perhaps demoralized, New York will attempt to regroup for another primetime matchup next week against a Buffalo Bills team that just lost across the pond to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here are the five plays, or sequence of plays, that are interesting from the Giants’ loss to Miami.

Play(s): Giants turnovers!

This article is rightfully negative. The Giants are beyond disappointing this season. Still, it was pleasant to see the Giants’ defense force three turnovers. Xavier McKinney (29) started the fun:

After Achane (28) broke a tackle and attempted to use his immense speed to get outside, McKinney (on this play) took an adequate angle at Achane and punched the football loose in the beginning of the second quarter.

Tagovailoa (1) attempted to force the football to Waddle (17), and the Giants’ defense made the game much more interesting. Okereke (58) jumped the route, tipped the ball in the air, and Jason Pinnock came down with the football and returned it for 102 yards and the first Giants’ touchdown since Matt Breida scored against San Francisco. Pinnock tied a franchise record for longest interception return. Below is the third turnover; an interception by Okereke.

Play 2: Tyreek Hill is fast

Tyreek Hill (10) blew past Tre Hawkins III (37) for a 69-yard touchdown on third-and-four. It appeared McKinney missed his assignment, which was stated by color commentator Jonathan Vilma during the game, but McKinney refuted that claim. Here’s McKinney’s response to the claim when he heard it was the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker and Super Bowl Champion:

“Oh, OK. He don’t know what he’s talking about then. He don’t know football. He don’t know coverages, clearly.”

McKinney was clearly frustrated. It’s clearly not Cover-0. Jason Pinnock is deep but can’t isn’t on screen. The Giants played 1-Double Robber with both McKinney and Dane Belton (24) robbing the seams.

Nevertheless, Tagovailoa hit his back foot looking to his left, and Pinnock shaded in that direction, which isolated Hill against the rookie. Hawkins III went to jam and Hill just blew past the rookie cornerback for a long touchdown.

Play 3: Special rookie

Achane has rare - Chris Johnson like - speed, as we unfortunately witness him leave several Giants’ defensive backs in the dust. He finished the game with eleven carries for 151-yards and this touchdown - an average of 13.7 yards per carry. Achane now averages 12.2 YPC on the season.

The Achane touchdown forced the Giants into the familiar position of trailing by multiple scores. The Giants did preceed to go on a 13-play, 44-yard drive that resulted in Graham Gano’s first field goal.

Play(s) 4: 8-play, 75-yard drive

Miami scored three plays into the third quarter with the 69-yard touchdown to Hill. The Giants offense punted, but the Okereke’s interception happened on the ensuing Dolphins’ drive. New York only managed a field goal, despite the field position. With 4:26 left in the third quarter, the Giants were only down by 11 (24-13).

The Giants defense played valiantly against a faster and better offense. But in order for the Giants to get back into the football game, the defense had to come up with another huge play. Unfortunately, the Dolphins easily drove the football down the field without seeing a third down. The drive concluded with this play:

The result of this drive seemed like the stake wrapped in garlic at dawn for the vampire that is the Giants’ season.

Play(s) 5: Injuries

The Giants suffered several injuries in Week 5. The most notable was quarterback Daniel Jones, who left with a neck injury. This comment after the game is concerning:

The 2021 injury required surgery. Tyrod Taylor replaced Jones and completed 9 of 12 passes for 86 yards with three rushes for 14 yards, while suffering one sack.

Azeez Ojulari left the game with an ankle injury, and Marcus McKethan left with a knee injury. Deonte Banks had his ankle rolled up on during the final play of the game. Darius Slayton, Wan’Dale Robinson, and Ben Bredeson all briefly exited the game, but did return.