Postscripts and reaction after Miami's 31-24 loss to the Giants that mathematically eliminated the Dolphins from playoff contention:
### This is all about personnel evaluations now, and tonight confirmed what most of us already suspected: The Dolphins need at least two cornerbacks, including a legit No. 1 corner --- a job that a declining Brent Grimes is no longer equipped to handle.
Look, Odell Beckham torments most corners, as he did to Grimes and Jamar Taylor tonight.
But Grimes “has really struggled defending the deep ball,” for weeks, as Jon Gruden noted on ESPN. Remember, Brandon Marshall and Sammy Watkins caught 17 of 20 passes thrown against Grimes in the most recent Jets and Bills games.
It’s difficult to envision Grimes returning without a restructuring (translation: pay cut) on a contract that would pay him $7.97 million next season, with a $9.5 million cap hit. He has a $3 million cap hit if Miami releases him.
### Jamar Taylor, benched two weeks ago, got yet another chance when Bobby McCain was injured on the first play of the second half.
But Taylor lost Beckham on the 84-yard TD pass, and Reshad Jones provided no assistance. Taylor said it was his own fault.
### The Dolphins’ secondary received no help from the front seven, which failed to produce a sack. The Giants entered having allowed only 21 sacks, fourth fewest in the league.
### In a season full of embarrassments, add this to the list: Eli Manning had as many touchdown passes (four) as incomplete passes (four) in 31 attempts. He finished with 337 yards passing and a 151.5 rating, just short of the perfect 158.8 that Geno Smith hung on the Dolphins in Miami’s home finale last year.
“Their defense is just too vanilla,” ESPN’s Ray Lewis said. “When you put the two safeties 25 yards deep, Eli knows what he has.”
Said Steve Young: “It’s like the Hall of Fame game. That defense is not threatening at all.”
As Keith Sims said on the Finsiders’ post-game show: “It seems like teams figure us out and we don’t make those adjustments.”
### Aside from NFL Network’s Heath Evans, nobody has been more critical of Ndamukong Suh than ESPN analysts were tonight.
Ray Lewis suggested he seems disinterested on some plays. Tom Jackson said “he’s got to do more.”
Gruden criticized Suh for leaving the game briefly on the Giants’ final drive. “Suh needs to get back in this game. That’s why you are here. Highest paid player in the NFL. You need to find something in the tank!”
### The Dolphins always seem to do something head scratching. Tonight’s installment:
Why did Lamar Miller get only five carries over the final 40 minutes of the game, after his electrifying 34-yard touchdown run, at which point he was averaging 9.9 per carry?
He gained 20 yards on those five carries, finishing with 12 for 89 (a 7.4 average) and two TDs.
Campbell wasn’t asked to explain that afterward, and I wasn’t there for the Campbell session, but Miller said he was healthy and doesn’t know why he didn’t get more carries.
“I hope Dan Campbell is as irate tonight as when he fired Bill Lazor,” Sims said, noting Miller’s lack of touches in the second-half.
### When Dan Campbell interviews for the head coaching job, he will have a hard time explaining why his team is so undisciplined.
The Jarvis Landry penalty tonight, throwing aside a Giants defender in frustration on a critical late Dolphins possession, was inexcusable and marked the third “behavior” related penalty for Landry this season.
“There’s no excuse for those,” Campbell said. “Those are totally inexcusable and they killed us.”
The Dolphins had 12 penalties for 123 yards. Sims said Don Shula never would have put up with that. The Giants had only three penalties for 25 yards.
### Considering he doesn’t stretch the field like his buddy Beckham can, Landry received entirely too many targets (18).
Yes, Landry is a terrific player. But 18 “is way too much,” Stradford said on the Dolphins’ post-game show. Landry finished with 11 catches for 99 yards.
### Campbell’s take afterward: “We were inefficient on first down. That really killed us. Get a one-yard gain or a no-yard gain. You look at it: We ran the ball pretty good. But if you don’t run it good on first or second down, it puts you in a bad situation. Ryan threw the ball pretty well. There were some critical drops in this game that killed us.”
### Tannehill had his moments but again failed to win a game in the fourth quarter, overthrowing Landry on what ended up being Miami’s final offensive play.
"I overthrew him," Tannehill said. "I had time to make a good throw."
"That's when your franchise quarterback has to put your team on your shoulders and make a play," Sims said.
His final numbers: 25 for 41, 236 yards, and an 85 rating, slightly below his average this season. He was victimized by several drops.
“It’s time for Tannehill to turn his play up,” Gruden said.
Trent Dilfer insisted on ESPN’s pre-game show that Tannehill is one of the five most talented quarterbacks in the league but “needs to do all the stuff that matters in winning…. Substantive, intangible stuff.”
ESPN’s Young wondered whether he has the “grit” to be a high-end quarterback.
### Tannehill’s take afterward: “They played good defense and we just didn’t make the plays. When it came down to it in the fourth quarter, we didn’t get it done. That’s when the good players, good teams, step up…. This is not where we want to be. You’ll see what guys are made of.”
### So make it seven years in a row without a winning record or a playoff berth. At 5-8, the Dolphins remain on the road to nowhere, but also on track to have a draft pick in the 7 to 15 range. They’re eighth at the moment.
### Mike Tannenbaum continues to take low-risk chances on other teams’ discards. The latest: defensive end Damontre Moore, who was cut by the Giants for attitude reasons.
Moore had 5.5 sacks last season and 3.0 this season, all coming as a backup, but fought with teammates continuously since training camp, according to Jay Glazer.
“Moore can catch some of these scrambling quarterbacks,” Gruden said.
### Tannehill audibled into some good plays but failed to adjust on at least two Giants blitzes. (It’s unclear whether Tannehill had the authority to audible out of those plays.)
“He has to [audible] to become a great quarterback and take his game to another level,” Gruden said.
### Another disappointing night for Dallas Thomas, who committed two false start penalties and was beaten by Cullen Jenkins on a play that could have left Tannehill beheaded.
“Neither guard has played well enough” this season, Gruden said.
### Kenny Stills, with the 47-yard TD catch, is now averaging 17.8 yards on 22 catches --- among the highest for a Dolphins receiver in the past 25 years. During that quarter century, Randal Hill has the highest single-season average (18.4) for receivers with at least 20 catches.
### Earl Mitchell missed the second half with a calf injury.
### With the Giants winning, the NFL announced that the Dec. 27 Colts-at-Dolphins game will be cross-flexed from CBS to Fox (it will remain a 1 p.m. start), and that Vikings-Giants will replace Steelers-Ravens as the NBC Sunday night game.