Winning at all costs can hurt, but it's always better than losing.
Just ask Tom Coughlin.
The Giants head coach took an accidental lick from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as his cornerback came crashing into the sideline during their "Monday Night Football" game in Miami. Coughlin, though, popped right back up and didn't skip a beat as he guided his team to a 31-24 victory over the Dolphins.
"Actually, it helped," Coughlin said. "It snapped my neck. It feels a whole hell of a lot better right now."
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Coming out of the two-minute warning, the Giants, leading by a touchdown, were faced with a third-and-three near midfield. They called for a passing play, which Eli Manning completed to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for a five-yard gain and a fresh set of downs. Manning then twice took a knee in the victory formation to run out the clock.
"To be honest with you we've been in those situations before," Coughlin said. "Sometimes we've thrown and not achieved what we've needed to; sometimes we've run and not achieved. We hadn't really been very good in the four-minute offense. Tonight we ran the ball a couple of times and [offensive coordinator] Ben [McAdoo] asked, 'Do you want to run it?' And I said, 'Whatever you feel is the safe way to gain.' We only needed four yards; you get four yards and the game's over. It was risky from the standpoint of stopping the clock and the whole business that goes along with it, but we were confident. He put the ball down low where, if we didn't get it, nobody was going to get it and Odell made a heck of a catch keeping his hands under the ball."
Manning put on one of the most accurate passing displays in Giants history, notching career highs in completion percentage (87.1) and passer rating (151.5). He had as many incompletions as touchdowns with four apiece.
"I just felt like guys were getting open quickly," Manning said. "I thought we had a lot of clean looks. I thought we had a good game plan in. And [we] just talked about it all week, just getting the plays that we, you know, how can we play fast, how can we get the ball snapped and guys playing fast and knowing exactly where they are going to be, and have great timing, and I thought we did that."
Giants.com hands outs their game balls after the Giants top the Dolphins
WHAT THE WIN MEANS FOR THE GIANTS
The three-game skid is over, and the Giants (6-7) are back into a three-way tie atop the NFC East. Big Blue needed the victory after watching Washington and Philadelphia improve to 6-7 on Sunday. The Giants will now turn around on a short week to host the undefeated Panthers in Week 15.
"I knew it was a must-win, it's a playoff game for us," said Beckham, who had his sixth consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards. "The rest of them are playoff games for us. We have been on a losing streak for three games now and we needed to snap it. We all just stepped up tonight."
Added Manning: "We have to stay on track, we have three games left and we have to win all three. It's going to be tough. This is a short week; we have Carolina coming in and we have to have a great week of preparation and see if we can play well and finish another game."
WHAT THE LOSS MEANS FOR THE DOLPHINS
While they were mathematically eliminated from the postseason after losing to the Giants, the Monday night game also ended any hopes for the Dolphins' first winning season since 2008. The Dolphins are now 5-8 and at the bottom of the AFC East. Interim coach Dan Campbell, a former tight end for the Giants, was asked about the message to his players for the rest of the season.
"You find out who loves the game," said Campbell, who is now 4-5 as coach after Joe Philbin was relieved of his duties. "That's what you're playing for. Three games to go. Who really loves the game?"