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(Sunday, October 30th)
Final Score: NY Giants 20, Miami 17
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Eli Manning found Victor Cruz for a 25- yard touchdown with 5:58 left in the fourth quarter, capping a comeback and lifting the New York Giants to a 20-17 victory over the still-winless Miami Dolphins.
Manning passed for 349 yards and two touchdowns for the NFC East-leading Giants (5-2), who trailed 14-3 early in the second quarter and used a 10-point fourth quarter to earn the victory.
"Eli made some big plays, obviously. He threw the ball a lot today, no turnovers, no interceptions. He made big plays when we needed to have them," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. "He once again did a very good job."
Matt Moore, making his third consecutive start for the Dolphins in place of an injured Chad Henne, threw for 138 yards and was intercepted once. He also ran for a touchdown, but Miami (0-7) had another potential win stolen away.
Last week, the Dolphins lost to Denver in overtime after the Broncos erased a 15-0 deficit in the final 2:44 of regulation.
Miami is 0-7 for the first time since 2007, when it went 1-15 in Cam Cameron's only season as an NFL head coach. Current head coach Tony Sparano took over the following season and led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record.
But with the team back in a tailspin after a pair of 7-9 seasons, struggling to get just one win, it's likely Sparano will be the next out the door.
"We need to close. I don't have any answers or explanations for it," Moore said about his team's losing streak. "I think [the] guys have had the right attitude, but when you play good teams you've got to be full throttle."
Miami had success early on Sunday, scoring on its first two possessions and taking a 14-3 lead with most of the second quarter still to play. The Dolphins gained 156 yards on those two drives.
But the rest of the game couldn't have been much different. Miami punted five times, gained only 96 yards on eight possessions, and couldn't hang on to the ball as its defense stayed on the field.
The Dolphins' lead started to slip away late in the first half, when the Giants drove 84 yards for a touchdown. They crossed midfield with under two minutes remaining but continued to march further into Dolphins territory, and eventually faced a 3rd-and-1 at the seven-yard line with 12 seconds left.
Manning lobbed the ball to the left rear corner of the end zone, where Mario Manningham made the catch in stride to pull New York within 14-10 at the break.
Miami's Dan Carpenter kicked a 40-yard field goal on the opening possession of the second half, and the lead stood throughout the rest of the third quarter thanks to two Giants punts.
But New York's offense still showed life toward the end of the frame, when it took over possession at its own 12 and put together a long drive. Manning hit Cruz with a 26-yard pass on the first play of the fourth quarter, and later found tight end Jake Ballard for a 22-yard catch-and-run.
The drive stalled and Lawrence Tynes came out to kick a 29-yard field goal, making it a 17-13 game with 10:37 to play.
Miami's ineffective offense quickly gave the Giants another shot. The Dolphins took only two minutes off the clock and actually lost three yards during a three-and-out.
That failure forced Miami to punt from its own 22 and led to the Giants starting the winning drive from their own 47.
Initially, it looked like New York would have to again turn to Tynes. The Giants reached the Miami 25 but faced a 3rd-and-12 after Manning's deep pass to Manningham fell incomplete.
But Manning didn't miss on the next play. He lined up in the shotgun formation and bided his time in the pocket before firing a pass to Cruz, who lined up in the slot on the left side of the field and was cutting through the middle.
The completion was enough to give New York a first down, but Cruz put the Giants in front. He spun out of a tackle by Dolphins cornerback Will Allen near the five-yard line as another defender went running by, then avoided a final player before crossing into the end zone.
New York held Miami to a punt on the following possession, and Corey Webster intercepted Moore inside the two-minute warning to secure the outcome.
Moore had led the Dolphins to the two early scores. He completed four passes for 33 yards and scrambled for a 16-yard gain during the first drive, which ended on Steve Slaton's run up the middle from a yard out.
After Tynes kicked a 25-yarder in the final minute of the first quarter, Miami drove for another score. Moore used his running ability again, running for 11 yards to convert a third down before scoring on a fourth-down keeper from the one.
Miami running back Reggie Bush ran for 103 yards on 15 carries. His only other 100-yard game came against the Giants on the road, when he ran for 126 yards on Dec. 24, 2006 at Giants Stadium as a rookie with New Orleans...Running back Brandon Jacobs and defensive end Justin Tuck were back on the field for the Giants. Jacobs hadn't recorded a carry since Week 4 against Arizona, and ran for 10 yards Sunday. Tuck hadn't played since Week 3...Sunday's game was played just about four years after the teams' most recent matchup. The Dolphins carried an 0-7 record into their October 28, 2007 meeting with the Giants in London, and suffered a 13-10 defeat...Rookie running back Daniel Thomas, Miami?s leading rusher, was inactive due to a hamstring injury. Two other Miami starters, cornerback Vontae Davis (hamstring) and guard Richie Incognito (ankle), also did not play...Tynes made his 134th consecutive extra point attempt when he converted on the team?s first touchdown, breaking a tie he held with Pete Gogolak for the franchise record in that category.
10/30 17:21:05 ET
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