In what was an emotional day, the Giants played well in all aspects of the game to take home a much-needed win.
Throughout the game, the fans at MetLife Stadium were chanting for Eli Manning in what might have been the 16-year veteran's final start and appearance in front of the home crowd. The two-time Super Bowl MVP made enough plays to help the team emerge victorious, as the Giants defeated the Miami Dolphins 36-20. The Giants are now 3-11 on the season.
"Well, it's been quite a long stretch, but it felt really good to win," coach Pat Shurmur said. "It was a good team win. As you saw, there were contributions by the defense, obviously the offense, and then certainly on special teams we did a lot of good things. I think it feels good for me because these guys have continued to fight. We finally really put a full game together on all three sides of the ball and it worked out our way. We made plays, and it was good to win. It's good to be able to have Eli out there playing with us and help lead us to a victory. He's certainly done many, many good things here for many, many years. For him to enjoy leading us to a victory, should feel real special for him because of who he is."
Eli picks up win in possible final home start. No one knows yet how the next two weeks will play out. But if this was his final start at MetLife Stadium, Eli Manning is going out on top. He completed 71.4% of his passes (20 of 28) for 283 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, finishing with a passer rating of 87.9. The crowd gave the franchise's all-time leading passer a standing ovation when he was removed on the team's final drive.
"Obviously, I don't know what the future is," Manning said. "I don't know what lies next week, let alone down the road. Obviously, the support and the fans, their ovation, chanting my name from the first snap to the end, I appreciate that. I appreciate them always and all my teammates coming up to me. It's a special day, a special win and one I'll remember."
Saquon tops 100 yards rushing. For the first time since Week 2, Saquon Barkley was able to eclipse the 100-yard rushing mark. The second-year running back carried the ball 24 times for 112 yards, an average of 4.7 yards per carry, and two touchdowns. He also added four receptions for 31 yards. Barkley doubled the number of rushing touchdowns he had on the season, and found the end zone for the first time since Week 8.
"We ran the ball well," Barkley said. "We were more consistent. We didn't have a lot of penalties or dropped plays. We played football as a team. I had a great game. When Buck (Allen) came in, he had a great running game. The O-line played lights out, giving Eli time and opening up holes for me. Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate Darius Slayton - all of those guys were making plays. Tight ends were blocking well and making plays as we need them to. Defense was playing well, special teams were playing well. We were playing complementary football. I think it was the first time we did it in a very long time. When you do that, you're going to find yourself winning a lot more games. Hopefully we can continue to do that and finish the season off strong and have this winning become contagious."
Beal breaks out. Following the release of Janoris Jenkins on Friday, Sam Beal was inserted into the starting lineup, and the 23-year-old took full advantage of this opportunity. Beal led the Giants with 11 tackles (eight solo), one tackle for loss and one pass defended. The first-year pro made a great play in the middle of the third quarter to tackle Dolphins running back Patrick Laird in the end zone for a safety, which gave the Giants a three-point lead. This was a turning point of the game, as the Giants would go on to score a quick touchdown upon getting the ball back to open up a double-digit lead.
Giants WR trio all step up. Sunday marked just the second time all season that the Giants' offense featured Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and Darius Slayton on the field at the same time. Each played a big part in the win. Shepard led the team with nine receptions for 111 yards, while Tate made a nifty catch-and-run for a 51-yard touchdown to get the Giants on the board in the first quarter. Slayton finished with two receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown. The fifth-round pick leads all NFL rookies with eight receiving touchdowns.
"It was really versatile," Slayton said of the offense. "I think it was the first time we got to see all of our playmakers make plays, you know, all on the same day… It's a great feeling. Obviously I want to go out there and help my team win every Sunday and I just go out there and do what I'm asked every week."
Gates plays well in replace of Zeitler. Kevin Zeitler had been the iron man of the Giants' offensive line this season, starting every game and barely missing a snap. But the veteran guard was forced to watch this one from the sideline with an ankle injury. Nick Gates took Zeitler's spot and performed well in his second career start. The lineman out of Nebraska also started for Mike Remmers at right tackle in Week 10 against the New York Jets.
"Yeah, Nick Gates played well," Shurmur said. "I think we've talked about him kind of on the edges here throughout the year. I think he's got a bright future. He went in there, stepped in there, played for Zeitler. He's played a little bit of tackle. I think he's got a real bright future. He played tough. On one of the scoring plays there, he pulled, cut the edge where Saquon was able to bounce. He's just a really good football player and I think when he's given opportunities he performs well."