Eli And Defense Big In 20-17 Win

Eli Manning (Debby Wong/US Presswire)

Fourth-quarter comebacks have become a thing with Eli Manning. He got his fourth of the season Sunday in a 20-17 victory over winless Miami, thanks in large part to the rise of the Giants defense in the fourth quarter.

Eighteen.

That's how many fourth-quarter comebacks Eli Manning has staged, with Sunday's 20-17 win over 0-7 Miami standing as the latest.

Though he went 31-of-45 for 349, and could well have had 400 had his receivers not dropped at least three balls, it took help from the fourth quarter defense to secure the win.

Credit Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Osi Umenyiora with saving the Giants' bacon after the 5-2 winners took their only lead with 5:58 remaining in the game as Victor Cruz got open for a 25-yard touchdown pass and spun into the end zone for the go-ahead score.

Now it's on to the real games, starting with next week's encounter with the Patriots in Foxborough. As Tuck said, "We'll see where we are real soon."

Here's the good and bad of a game that shouldn't have been as difficult as it was.

THE GOOD

ELI MANNING: Gotta hand it to him, he's good in the hurry-up. He ran a two-minute drill to end the half to perfection, finishing off by hitting Mario Manningham on an end zone fade eight seconds before intermission to close the Dolphins' gap to 14-10.

Lawrence Tynes: His extra point at the end of the half marked his 134th straight, a team record, surpassing Pete Gogolak's 133 from 1967-72.

VICTOR CRUZ: He continues to impress, especially with his fourth-quarter, 25-yard touchdown reception on which he spun out of former Giant Will Allen's grasp at the 12 to go in for the score with 5:58 to go. It marked the Giants' first lead of the game, and Cruz' team-high fourth score of the season.

FOURTH QUARTER DEFENSE: Just when they needed it, a defense that had been gashed by the run came up big with two huge series once the Giants gained the lead. Jason Pierre-Paul sacked Matt Moore on the first play after the touchdown, and followed by dumping Reggie Bush for a 4-yard loss. And the next play saw Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka split a sack to force a punt. On the Dolphins' next series, Osi Umenyiora and Kiwanuka came up with sacks to force a third-and-30, which eventually turned into a game-icing interception by Corey Webster.

THE BAD

ELI MANNING: It's okay to go for it on fourth-and-9 from the Dolphins' 34, as Manning did on the opening drive. But choosing a low-percentage end zone throw to Hakeem Nicks was not the way to go. He needed to throw a 10-yarder for a first down, and then take his shot. The failure allowed the Dolphins to drive the field for a Steve Slaton touchdown and a 6-0 lead.

PENALTIES: Giants had a first down at the Miami 12 in the second quarter, and then had consecutive hold on Bear Pascoe and a false start on Chris Snee to move them back. They had to settle for a 25-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal. On the next possession, Antrel Rolle gets a late hit call on Reggie Bush's 35-yard run to set up the Dolphins at the 3 to set up Matt Moore's walk-in keeper and a 14-3 lead.

RUN DEFENSE: Reggie Bush had runs of 35 and 28 to set up a touchdown and a field goal. That makes seven runs of 20 yards or more in the first seven games.

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