Three Takeaways | John Congemi Breaks Down Dolphins vs. Giants

1) Tale of two halves

The Miami Dolphins seemed to be in rhythm right from the opening whistle, moving the football with a good mix of run and pass. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick distributed the ball with ease, finding seven different receivers in the first 30 minutes. The screen and run game with running back Patrick Laird looked efficient and it was nice to see Albert Wilson separate from defenders using his explosiveness to create space in the passing game. His ability to run after the catch kept drives alive and it's the best he's looked all season. Both Wilson and DeVante Parker, coming back from concussion protocol, played well through 30 minutes. Parker's 20-yard touchdown showed his ability to out run coverage and make a difficult reception down the middle of the field. Miami took a 10-7 lead to the locker room and it felt like it should have been more. The problem was not finishing drives and missing opportunities early that kept the Giants close, and they ultimately took advantage. The Giants totally dominated the third quarter using more tempo on offense and finding the inexperience within the Dolphins secondary. Their defense completely shut down Miami's ability to run the football, and then pressured and blitzed their way to an easy win.

2) Second Half Turning Points

To me it felt like the Giants came out after halftime and captured the momentum on their first offensive drive. Manning went up tempo, rushing to the line of scrimmage on the very first play, and found a wide open Darius Slayton for a 26-completion. He later found Cody Latimer for 21 and then two plays later for a five yard score. Later, after both teams exchanged turnovers, the Dolphins answered with a 47-yard field goal from Jason Sanders, but it would be the last time Miami had an answer for the Giants. A New York punt backed the Miami's offense up inside their own 3-yard line, and the game started to change. A false start moved the football back to the two, and from there the New York defense took control. Defensive tackle penetration forced Patrick Laird to bounce backwards and to the outside where defensive back Sam Beal made the easy tackle for two points and a 16-13 Giants lead that they would never relinquish. The ensuing punt into the wind and a solid return gave a short field for Manning to operate. With the ball at the Dolphins 40-yard line, it took the Giants offense just three plays to extend the lead to 10 points, and the game slipped away from that point on.

3) Fitzpatrick's Solid Performance

It's a difficult job playing quarterback at a high level in the NFL, especially on a team that doesn't run the ball with a lot of consistency. Week after week, Ryan Fitzpatrick found ways to move this offense with his decision making and by using his mobility to apply extra pressure on a defense. His second half performance was much like the rest of his teammates but, early in the game, you just couldn't ask for much more. Fitz started the game going 17 of 25 for 201 yards in the first 30 minutes, and scrambling for an additional 24 yards. The numbers should have been better, given the multiple drops on a difficult day to pitch and catch the football. His toughness and anticipation give this offense a chance to compete every Sunday, and that's all you can ask of this veteran quarterback, arguably playing the best football of his career.

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