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Cover 4: Takeaways from Giants vs. Dolphins


The crew reacts to the 31-16 loss to the Dolphins in Miami:

John Schmeelk: According to PFF, the Giants allowed a league-high pressure rate in Week 5 (54.4 percent). The issues were spread across the line with seven players allowing at least two pressures and five allowing four or more. As has been common throughout the early part of this season, once the Giants got down a pair of scores and needed to throw the ball, the Dolphins pinned their ears back to rush the passer. Miami finished with seven sacks and 14 quarterback hits. For any team, it is going to be near impossible to score enough points to win games with those numbers in the box score.

Dan Salomone: Six days after they allowed a franchise-record 11 sacks, the Giants gave up seven more on Sunday for a two-week total of 18. Sixteen of them have been on No. 8. The final one in Miami led to a neck injury for Daniel Jones, who missed the final six games of the 2021 season with an issue in the same area. We'll find out more in the coming days about the severity and whether Tyrod Taylor will be called upon.

"I think I'm certainly in some pain, physical game," Jones said in his postgame press conference. "So I'll meet with the doctors and trainers and then go from there."

On Monday, coach Brian Daboll said he is "optimistic" about Jones this week. As for left tackle Andrew Thomas (hamstring) and running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), Daboll said their status is "yet to be determined." He added that Barkley is probably closer to returning than Thomas.

Lance Medow: If you want to know the biggest difference between the Giants and Dolphins, look no further than explosive plays. Miami recorded seven plays of 20 or more yards, including three for more than 60 yards, and just one was a product of a deep pass down the field. The six others were either off short passes or runs, meaning plenty of yardage after the catch or initial burst through the hole on the ground. That was a big reason why the Dolphins had four touchdown drives and only faced one third down in those four possessions combined. They only needed to gain four yards on that lone third down, and it still went for a 69-yard Tyreek Hill touchdown. Although the Giants' defense collected three takeaways, the high volume of explosive plays essentially canceled the former out. The splash plays I'm referring to are critical because they alleviate the need to rely on lengthy drives where most likely something negative will happen. Case in point, on the Giants' second possession of the game, they put together a 13-play drive that ended with three consecutive negative plays: Eric Gray lost a yard on a run, Daniel Jones was sacked and then Graham Gano missed a 55-yard field goal.

While the Dolphins faced eight third downs, the Giants had to tackle 17 of those and converted only five. That large number is a product of the lack of explosive plays. The Giants had just one run for more than 10 yards and two pass plays for 20 or more yards. To put things in perspective, Miami more than doubled that total in this game alone. Of New York's nine possessions, six contained at least one negative play (loss of yardage, sack, penalty, etc.). The Dolphins had 10 legitimate possessions and three ended in turnovers, yet they still managed to score 31 points and tally over 500 yards of total offense. How's that possible? Simple, several splash plays. They're the ideal eraser.

Matt Citak: Dolphins running backs De'Von Achane and Raheem Mostert continued their strong seasons with a successful day on the ground against the Giants. The two backs combined for 216 rushing yards and two touchdowns on only 21 rush attempts. Mostert's 6.5 yards per carry looked pedestrian in comparison to Achane's 13.7. The rookie broke loose for a 76-yard touchdown run, a play in which he reached 21.76 miles per hour, the third-fastest recorded speed of any ball carrier this season (Miami holds seven of the eight fastest recorded speeds this year).

But even prior to Sunday's loss in Miami, the Giants' defense had struggled to slow down the run game. Through the first four weeks of the season, the Cowboys, Cardinals, 49ers and Seahawks averaged around 134 yards on the ground per game against the Giants. The team's nine rushing touchdowns allowed on the year are tied for the most in the league, while their average of 5.3 yards per carry allowed is tied for 29th. The team continues to struggle with tackling, as Achane gained 96 of his 151 yards after first contact and broke three tackles Sunday (according to PFF), but the issues go beyond tackling. Opposing backs are gaining 3.7 yards before first contact, which is the third-worst mark in the league. The road doesn't get any easier with matchups against James Cook, Brian Robinson, Breece Hall and Josh Jacobs on the horizon.


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