With Daniel Jones out because of a neck injury, a shorthanded Giants offense was even more inept in a 20-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium.
Mike Glennon, New York’s backup quarterback, accounted for just 187 yards on 23-of-44 passing with an interception as the Giants’ offense failed to find the end zone — relying on three Graham Gano field goals — for a season-low in points scored.
It’s the eighth time in 12 games that the Giants (4-8) have been held to 20 points or fewer as head coach Joe Judge has been unable to find the right formula for an offense that fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins (6-7) are now winners of five straight games while quarterback Tua Tagovailoa continued his efficient ways, completing 30-of-41 passes for 244 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Glennon started well, completing each of his first eight passes for 59 yards, including for on their second drive of the afternoon that took them into plus territory. But his ninth attempt of the day was a deep ball down the left sideline intended for Darius Slayton into double coverage.
It went as well as expected as Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard came down with the interception at the 3-yard-line.
But the veteran backup showed an affinity to connect with Kenny Golladay, doing so twice on their third drive of the day to put the Giants in a threatening position following a 15-yard punt return by Pharoh Cooper — giving New York possession on the Dolphins’ 37-yard-line.
When Golladay was forced to the sidelines while holding his ribs — he would return at the start of the second half — the Giants’ drive stalled at the Dolphins’ 21, leading to Graham Gano’s 39-yard field goal for the game’s first points with 13:12 to go in the second quarter.
The game’s first touchdown wouldn’t come until there were 31 seconds left in the first half when Tagovailoa connected with tight end Mike Gisecki, who made a juggling catch, for a five-yard touchdown in the left corner of the end zone to give the Dolphins a 10-3 lead.
Back-to-back runs of 23 yards from Saquon Barkley and 16 yards from Devontae Booker were good enough to get the Giants into field goal range, which Graham Gano converted from 34 yards out to cut the Giants’ deficit to four early in the third quarter.
The Giants’ defense held the Dolphins to minus-six yards over their first two drives of the second half while winning the field position battle. But a sputtering offense wasn’t helped by conservative play-calling — including a decision to punt on a 4th-&-2 from the Dolphins’ 46-yard-line with five minutes left in the third.
It didn’t help that Glennon missed on wide-open throws to Evan Engram and John Ross that could have developed into huge plays.
Things got even worse for Glennon when he took two sacks in the final two minutes of the third quarter to back the Giants up to their own 4-yard-line on a 3rd-&-33 — transitioning momentum firmly back to the Dolphins.
On the sidelines, a demonstrative Joe Judge was seen huddling his offense together in hopes of sparking something.
Instead, they would watch as the Dolphins took an 11-point lead as Tagovailoa hit Isaiah Ford for a two-yard touchdown four minutes into the fourth quarter.
After Jason Sanders missed a 52-yard-field goal, the Giants did just enough to work down into Dolphins territory for another underwhelming three points. Gano hit a 51-yarder for his third successful kick of the day with five minutes to go to make it an eight-point game.
They wouldn’t see the ball until there was 1:11 to go and their deficit back at two possessions after Sanders knocked home a 48-yard field goal to put the game away.