EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The winless Miami (0-7) Dolphins maintain a perfect record – for losses.
The Fins’ Eli Manning threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz with 5:58 to play and the Giants barely avoided a post-bye letdown with a 20-17 victory Sunday.
Manning hit 31 of 45 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns in rallying the Giants from an 11-point first-half deficit. Mario Manningham caught the other touchdown, a 7-yard play that got New York (5-2) back into the game late in the first half.
Lawrence Tynes kicked two short field goals, and New York’s defense got four sacks on the Dolphins’ final two drives. Corey Webster iced it with his third interception in the last two games.
Steve Slaton and Matt Moore (13 of 22 for 138) capped the Dolphins’ first two drives with 1-yard runs. But Miami could only muster a 40-yard third-quarter field goal by Dan Carpenter the rest of the way.
The Giants’ winning drive covered 53 yards in six plays and came after the defense forced Miami (0-7) to punt from its 22.
Ahmad Bradshaw, who missed much of the second half getting his right foot X-rayed, had runs of 2 and 11 yards to get the drive started and Manning hit Hakeem Nicks for 17 yards to the Miami 23.
The quarterback found a wide open Cruz over the middle and the New Jersey native spun out of Will Allen’s attempted tackle at the 5-yard line. Cruz seemingly was flung into the end zone by the former first round pick of the Giants.
A kickoff return by Slaton to the Dolphins 45 resulted in nothing when New York got two sacks, the last by a combination of Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck, who was playing for the first time in four games.
Miami, which wasted two timeouts early, got the ball back at its 16 with 3:35 to play and quickly got a 24-yard completion to Davone Bess.
However, Osi Umenyiora and Kiwanuka got sacks for 10-yard losses on consecutive plays to set up Webster fourth-down pick.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin spent most of the week telling his team not to take the Dolphins lightly and for the first two series it looked like nobody on the defense listened.
Miami, which came in having scored seven touchdowns in its first six games, scored on its first two series.
Moore, who made the Giants look foolish two years ago in their last game in Giants Stadium, looked like Tom Brady — next week’s opponent — in leading the Dolphins on scoring drives of 66 and 90 yards. He had a 15-yard third-down scramble to set up Slaton’s 1-yard run, and an 11-yard third-down run on the longer drive that he capped with a fourth-down 1-yard bootleg.
After walking into the end zone, he spiked the ball with a vengeance.
Trailing 14-3, Manning hit 9 of 10 passes on a 13-play, 84-yard that he capped with a 7-yard fade to Manningham in the corner of the end zone.
New York earlier settled for a 25-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes after a drive that reached the Dolphins 12 was short-circuited by consecutive penalties.
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