Lance Meadow: If you want to know the biggest difference between the Giants and Dolphins, look no further than the explosive plays. Miami recorded seven plays of 20 yards or more, three of which went over 60 yards, and only one of which was the result of a long pass. The other six were either short passes or runs, meaning there was plenty of yardage after the catch or the initial break through the hole in the ground. That’s a big reason why the Dolphins scored four touchdowns and only faced a combined third down in those four drives. They only needed to gain 4 yards on their only third down and still managed a 69-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill. Although the Giants’ defense gained three points, a large number of explosive plays largely negated the former advantage. The splash games I’m referring to are crucial because they reduce the reliance on long drives where negative things are likely to happen. Case in point, on the Giants’ second possession, they went 13 plays and ended up with three straight negative plays: Eric Gray lost a yard on the run, Daniel Jones lost a (Daniel Jones) was sacked and then Graham Gano missed a 55-yard field goal.
The Dolphins faced eight third downs, while the Giants dealt with 17 of them and converted just five. Such large numbers are the result of a lack of explosive play. The Giants had just one run of more than 10 yards and two pass runs of more than 20 yards. For perspective, Miami more than doubled that number in this game alone. Six of New York’s nine possessions included at least one negative play (loss of yardage, sack, penalty, etc.). The Dolphins had 10 legal drives, three of which ended in turnovers, but they still scored 31 points and over 500 yards of total offense. How can this be? Very simple, a few splashing games. They are ideal erasers.
Matt Sitake: Dolphins running backs De’Von Akan and Raheem Mostert continued their strong season with success against the Giants. The two backs combined for 216 yards and two touchdowns on just 21 rushing attempts. Mostert’s 6.5 yards per carry looked lackluster compared to Akan’s 13.7 yards. The rookie rushed for a 76-yard touchdown and posted a speed of 21.76 mph, the third-fastest pace recorded by a ball carrier this season (Miami holds seven of the eight fastest recorded speeds this year). .
But even before Sunday’s loss to Miami, the Giants defense had struggled to slow down the running game. Through the first four weeks of the season, the Cowboys, Cardinals, 49ers and Seahawks averaged about 134 yards per game against the Giants. The nine rushing touchdowns the team has allowed this year are tied for first in the league, and their 5.3 yards per carry average is tied for 29th. The team still struggles with the snaps, with Akan gaining 96 of his 151 yards after first contact and three tackles on Sunday (per PFF), but the problem goes beyond just the snaps. Opposing defenders gained 3.7 yards before first contact, the third-worst mark in the league. With matchups coming up against James Cook, Brian Robinson, Bryce Hall and Josh Jacobs, the road doesn’t get any easier.