Monday's roundup: Beckham's 2 TDs help Giants beat Dolphins
Miami Gardens, Fla. — With the score tied in the fourth quarter, Odell Beckham Jr. somehow slipped 5 yards behind the secondary.
That turned out to be the winning margin for the New York Giants.
Beckham’s 84-yard touchdown reception put the Giants ahead to stay with 11 minutes to go, and they forged a three-way tie atop the NFC East by beating the Miami Dolphins 31-24 on Monday night.
New York’s Eli Manning went 27 for 31 for 337 yards and four scores. His passer rating of 151.5 was his highest since 2009, and his 87-percent completion percentage was a career high.
The Giants (6-7) broke a three-game losing streak and are tied with the Redskins and Eagles for the lead in their woeful division.
“It’s a must-win, a playoff game for us,” Beckham said. “They’re all playoff games.”
The Dolphins (5-8) were mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, extending their postseason drought to a franchise-record seven consecutive years.
“Obviously this is not where we want to be,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said, “but here we are.”
In celebration of the franchise’s 50th season, the Dolphins introduced their 50 greatest players at halftime. The not-so-great 2015 Dolphins topped 20 points for the first time since October, but couldn’t keep up with Beckham.
He had seven catches for 166 yards and the game’s final two scores. The 100-yard game was his sixth in a row, a Giants record.
“They got it to a star player, and he made plays for them,” Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said.
Beckham missed one series when he went to the locker room due to cramps in both calves, but didn’t let that slow him down. And with the score 24-all, he took advantage of broken coverage to score the go-ahead touchdown.
Cornerback Jamar Taylor and seldom-used safety Shamiel Gary were the closest defenders, but Manning hit Beckham in stride at midfield and he sprinted to the end zone for his 12th TD this year.
The Giants plotted the play at the team hotel before the game.
“We got the coverage we wanted,” Manning said. “We thought it would be a big play, but I didn’t think he would be that open.”
Miami safety Reshad Jones blamed miscommunication.
“The corner was supposed to follow up and go over the top,” Jones said, “which he didn’t.”
Beckham outplayed his close friend and former LSU teammate, Miami’s Jarvis Landry, who made 11 catches for 99 yards but was flagged for a costly personal foul penalty with his team trailing in the fourth quarter.
Beckham made a 45-yard reception to set up a touchdown and had a 6-yard scoring catch. The latter pass was initially ruled incomplete because Beckham was out of bounds, but the decision was overturned by a replay review that made the score 24-all.
His final catch, a diving grab on third down at midfield, sealed the victory with less than two minutes left.
“Obviously his performance is something we all expect,” Landry said. “He’s just continuing to do what he does.”
Manning led a touchdown drive in the final two minutes of the first half covering 80 yards, including 45 on a long pass to Beckham, to make it 17-all. The receiver on the 5-yard pass for the tie: Will Tye.
Tannehill threw for 236 yards and burned a blitz by throwing deep to Kenny Stills for a 47-yard score that put Miami ahead 24-17. But Tannehill overthrew an open Landry behind the Giants’ secondary with his team trailing and less than five minutes to go.
“Those are the ones you’ve got to make,” Tannehill said.
The Dolphins were hurt by 12 penalties and seemed reluctant to run the ball, as has been the case most of the year. Lamar Miller rushed for 89 yards, including a darting 38-yard touchdown run after making Jason Pierre-Paul miss, but carried only 12 times.
Dalton could be back
Andy Dalton won’t need surgery on his broken thumb and could play again this season.
Dalton broke the thumb on his passing hand during a 33-20 loss to the Steelers on Sunday. He had an appointment with a specialist on Monday who recommended that the fracture could heal without surgery.
It’s still unclear how many games he’ll miss. Dalton’s hand will remain in a cast for now.
“Basically we’ll go week to week with things,” coach Marvin Lewis said.
McCarron to start
AJ McCarron will make his first NFL start Sunday in San Francisco. A quarterback from Alabama hasn’t won an NFL game as a starter since Jeff Rutledge in 1987, according to STATS.
Since Rutledge’s win in 1987, Alabama quarterbacks have gone 0-13 in NFL starts.
“That’s history,” McCarron said on Monday. “I’m not really worried about history.”
The Bengals (10-3) lead the AFC North by two games over Pittsburgh (8-5).
Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer has suffered his second concussion in less than a month and is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Colts.
... The Ravens signed former Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett.
... Bears safety Antrel Rolle will miss the remainder of the season because of a sprained right knee.
... The Jaguars won’t know the status of rookie running back T.J. Yeldon until later this week. Yeldon sprained his left knee Sunday against Indianapolis.
... Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan (left shoulder) and running back Dexter McCluster (broken left wrist) will miss the rest of the season.
... Jets rookie wide receiver Devin Smith has a torn ligament in his right knee and will be out the rest of the season.
... The Browns placed cornerback Joe Haden on injured reserve because of concussions.
... The Packers signed defensive lineman Mike Daniels to a contract extension worth $42 million over four years.
The Monday night game between the Giants and Dolphins determined the matchup for the Sunday night game on Dec. 27.
With New York beating Miami on “Monday Night Football,” the Giants’ meeting with the Vikings in Week 16 will shift into “Sunday Night Football” on NBC under the league’s flexible scheduling policy.
If the Dolphins had won, the Steelers-Ravens game would have remained in prime time.
... Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson are among eight finalists for the NFL’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.