MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- On a night the Miami Dolphins celebrated their rich history -- which included two Super Bowls and their undefeated 1972 team -- the team failed to put forth a vintage performance.
Old-school uniforms and helmets were not enough, as the same 2015 Dolphins showed up on Monday Night Football. The defense allowed too many big plays, including four touchdown passes by Eli Manning, in a 31-24 loss to the New York Giants.
Many of the issues we've seen throughout the season showed up again. Miami's pass defense struggled with poor communication and blown coverages. The biggest was an 84-yard touchdown catch by Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., in which Dolphins safety Reshad Jones and cornerback Jamar Taylor messed up their communication. Taylor assumed he had coverage over the top while Jones went down in the box, allowing Beckham to run free without a defender within shouting distance.
Miami also had 12 penalties for 123 yards, including three personal-foul calls. That moved the sticks for the Giants, who didn't need the extra help. New York's offense notched 429 total yards and had a sharp performance from Manning, who carved up Miami's secondary with 337 passing yards and four touchdowns. Manning completed 27 of 31 passes.
The loss drops the Dolphins to 5-8 on the season.
What it means: The loss guarantees Miami will have its seventh consecutive non-winning season. The best the team can finish is 8-8 if it wins its last three games. Miami finished at .500 the past two seasons and will be hard pressed to even match that feat. The team hasn’t won three in a row all season. The Dolphins are all but eliminated from playoff contention. AFC wild-card contenders such as the Kansas City Chiefs (8-5), New York Jets (8-5) and Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) all won in Week 14.
Offense improves: After scoring just seven offensive points last week, the Dolphins’ offense made strides against the Giants, which entered Week 14 ranked last in the NFL in pass defense. Miami had explosive plays on the ground and through the air. The team notched its highest point total since a 44-26 victory over the Houston Texans in Week 7.
Landry shows versatility: Miami's leading receiver, Jarvis Landry, was excited about this game, which he says he circled on his calendar since the beginning of the season. Landry, who played opposite college teammate Beckham Jr., led the Dolphins with 11 receptions for 99 yards. Landry also had 96 kick return yards.
Ouch: Miami starting cornerback Bobby McCain was put in concussion protocol in the third quarter and didn’t return. Backups Brice McCain and Taylor shared duties at cornerback for the rest of the game. Linebacker Jelani Jenkins also suffered an ankle injury in the second half.
What’s next: The Dolphins will play their final road game of the season against the San Diego Chargers (3-10). It's a long trip on a short week, and Miami’s players and coaches must adjust and quickly turn the page.