Ryan Tannehill had the matchup he wanted.
Jarvis Landry had the separation he needed.
Everything was perfect.
Except Tannehill’s throw.
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Tannehill airmailed a potential touchdown pass to Landry. It cost the Dolphins the game — and ended their playoff hopes.
The Giants won a deliciously entertaining Monday night game 31-24 — and there’s plenty of blame to go around.
Brent Grimes couldn’t cover a book.
Dallas Thomas couldn’t block a Twitter troll.
The Dolphins committed 12 penalties for 123 yards, including a boneheaded personal foul by Landry on the Dolphins’ final possession.
But still, the ball was in Tannehill’s hands late, with a chance to tie the score.
The Dolphins’ $96 million man simply couldn’t get it done.
“I overthrew him,” Tannehill said. “I had time to make a good throw. … That’s the one you’ve got to make.”
He didn’t. And as a result, the pipe dream that was Miami’s playoff hopes officially — and mercifully — ended. The Dolphins (5-8) have been eliminated from postseason consideration.
Dan Campbell’s hopes of keeping his job might have ended, too. The Dolphins will finish no better than .500 for the seventh straight season.
And Campbell can finish no better than 7-5 as the Dolphins’ interim coach.
As for New York? The Giants (6-7) are tied for first place in an awful NFC East.
Eli Manning — 27 of 31 for 337 yards — was spectacular. Odell Beckham Jr. (seven catches for 166) was a big reason.
“Veteran, championship quarterback who’s done it a long time,” Campbell said.
Two of Manning’s four touchdowns went to Beckham. It’s hard to say which was more impressive — the foot drag on the sideline or the secondary-busting bomb.
The writing was on the wall for Miami early in the game.
Dolphins tight end Dion Sims fumbled a catch on the third play of the game, leading to a 35-yard field goal by Josh Brown.
Miami didn’t trail for long. Lamar Miller made sure.
Miller lowered his shoulder for 2 yards on fourth-and-a-foot, and then showed great burst around the left edge for a 14-yard touchdown run.
The Giants answered immediately, traveling 70 yards in nine plays, a drive capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Rueben Randle. Safety Michael Thomas was a step late in coverage, and it was just enough time for Manning.
No problem for the Dolphins. That just gave them another chance to showcase Miller, whose second touchdown run was even prettier than his first. Miller started right, made Jason Pierre-Paul miss, then cut back left, shed a few tacklers then raced 38 yards to the end zone.
Andrew Franks added a 36-yard field goal late in the second quarter, set up by a Reshad Jones fumble recovery, but the Dolphins could not hold the lead.
They surrendered a 5-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Will Tye with 44 seconds left in the half.
BACK AND FORTH
A decent game turned downright compelling after the break.
First Tannehill hooked up with Kenny Stills on a 47-yard touchdown strike. Can’t say who was at fault in coverage; neither Prince Amukamara nor Craig Dahl were in the same zip code.
Then Beckham put on his magician’s cape and top hat. His 6-yard, toe-tapping, sideline touchdown catch was so unbelievable, the officials didn’t believe it in real time. Only after a replay showed he had both feet in was he properly awarded a touchdown.
Beckham wasn’t done. Not even close.
Early in the fourth, he roasted the Dolphins secondary — Jamar Taylor and Reshad Jones seemed to have a miscommunication — and raced, uncovered, down the field. All Manning had to do was get the ball close. He did, and Giants were ahead for good. The touchdown pass went for 84 yards.
“It was just a bad play by me,” Taylor said. “[Jones] didn’t do nothing wrong. I blew the coverage.”
Tannehill, meanwhile, finished 25 of 41 for 236 yards and a touchdown and no interceptions.
But the last of his 16 incompletions hurt the most.
Now all that’s left to play for is pride.
“We’ll find out who loves the game, because that’s what’s you’re playing for with three games to go,” Campbell said.