Giants no match for high-flying Dolphins in 31-16 Week 5 embarrassment

Giants Dolphins Week 5
New York Giants safety Isaiah Simmons (19) grabs Miami Dolphins running back De’Von Achane (28) before Achane fumbled the ball during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The New York Giants continued to flounder worse than any fish or mammal out of water as they flopped yet again in a 31-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon to fall to 1-4 this season.

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill posted 181 yards on eight receptions with a touchdown while the two-headed running attack of Raheem Mostert (65 yards) and De’Von Achane (151 yards on 11 carries) combined to accrue 216 rushing yards as the Dolphins’ offense continues its torrid pace to start the season, becoming just the second team in NFL history with 2,500-plus total offense in their first five games of a season since the 2000 Rams. 

The Giants’ offense, without Saquon Barkley and three offensive linemen, once again came up empty to continue its shambolic start to the season. Daniel Jones’ unit failed to record a touchdown as a Jason Pinnock 102-yard interception return was the only time the Giants found the end zone on Sunday. Their offense hasn’t scored a touchdown since its Week 3 loss against the San Francisco 49ers.

Jones completed just 14-of-20 passes for 119 yards as the Giants were out-gained 524-268 by the Dolphins. The New York passer was driven from the game early in the fourth quarter with a neck injury when yet another blown assignment by Joshua Ezeudu — who also committed three penalties — allowed Miami linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel to get a free shot, which was one of eight Dolphins sacks on the day.

Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor finished the game.

The Giants’ defense didn’t have much of a chance in the first half against the high-scoring Dolphins in the first half despite picking up their long-awaited first takeaway of the season in the second quarter when they stripped running back Achane in a 7-0 game. Miami bolted down the field in their first drive of the afternoon with an eight-play, 89-yard march that ended with a two-yard touchdown reception by Jaylen Waddle. 

In typical New York fashion, however, the offense followed up the turnover with a three-and-out to punt it away. The Giants appeared to be gifted a fresh set of downs when it was initially deemed that Miami had too many men on the field during the punt, but a review by Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel was successful in overturning the call.

Achane ultimately got the last laugh less than a minute later when Achane went untouched 76 yards on the ensuing drive down the left sideline to double the Dolphins’ lead five minutes into the second quarter. 

Undone by three Ezeudu penalties (two false starts, one hold) on the ensuing drive, the Giants’ promising foray into Dolphins territory stalled at the 31-yard-line, leading to a Graham Gano 49-yard field goal — their first points of the game with 3:41 to go in the half and just the fourth time (all field goals) they’ve scored in the first half all season.

It left the Dolphins plenty of time to march down the field, which they did thanks to a 64-yard sprint off a screen pass by Hill that helped the hosts get down to the 4-yard-line. But a Tua Tagovailoa (22-of-30, 308 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) pass intended for the goal line was tipped by Giants linebacker Bobby Okereke and landed in the arms of Pinnock, who streaked 102 yards down the right sideline for the Giants’ first first-half touchdown of the season with 1:40 to go to give Big Blue short-lived life.

The score tied a Giants franchise record for the longest interception return for a touchdown ever. Erich Barnes returned an Eddie LeBaron pass 102 yards during a matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 15, 1961.

But Miami managed to pull out one last drive at the death of the first half, going 50 yards in 1:36 to nab a field goal as time expired to take a 17-10 lead going into the break. 

Within the first minute of the third quarter, the Dolphins were back up two touchdowns when Tagovailoa hit Hill with a 69-yard bomb down the right sideline on a 3rd-&-4 — immediately putting the Giants back down a significant hole that the offense was far too inept to climb out of. 

The Giants completely collapsed in their coverage, as rookie cornerback Tre Hawkins was left without any safety help against the Miami speedster, who made easy work of him. 

Okereke made his second big play of the afternoon midway through the third quarter when he intercepted Tagovailoa in Miami territory. The Dolphins quarterback was looking for Waddle on a short crossing route, but a short-armed attempt sailed over the receiver and into the arms of the linebacker to give New York the ball at the 23-yard-line. But another ill-timed holding penalty, this time on the injured Ben Bredeson’s replacement, Jalen Mayfield, stalled things to the point that the Giants had to yet again settle for a Gano field goal to cut the deficit to 11. 

Miami responded by turning back to the run game as Mostert and Achane proved unstoppable. The duo accounted for all of the Dolphins’ 75 yards on a drive that ended with a three-yard rush by Mostert as time expired in the third quarter to make it 31-13.

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