By Paul Dottino
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After earning a much-needed win over the Miami Dolphins, the Giants are preparing for Sunday’s game against the undefeated Carolina Panthers with the understanding that they will have to do a lot better, especially on defense, if they expect to pull an upset.

We’ll have more on this game later in the week, but for now, here’s a quck thumbnail glance at the 31-24 Monday night win.

GAME BALLS

Offense — QB Eli Manning and RB Rashad Jennings. Everybody knows by now how Manning set the team’s single-game completion percentage record by going 27-of-31 for 337 yards and four TDs. His four incompletions were two deflected passes, a drop, and an intentional throwaway. But it’s important not to forget Jennings’ contribution. He had team season highs of 22 carries and 81 yards. Jennings ran five times on the game-sealing, 10-play drive that milked nearly the final 5 minutes off the clock. He bullied his way for a first down on third-and-2 from the Giants’ 28 with 3:56 left. It was the most critical play of the drive, given how the offense has yielded the ball in those types of situations throughout the season.

Defense — DE Jason Pierre-Paul. Perhaps it was too easy to forget how he recovered a fumble on Miami’s opening drive to set up the Giants’ first score, but it was important. Landon Collins knocked the ball from TE Dion Sims, and JPP rounded it up at the Dolphins’ 37 with 13:45 to play, eventually leading to Josh Brown’s 35-yard field goal.

Special teams — WR Dwayne Harris. Like he has all season, Harris made a big play. This one was a punt return of 20 yards to the Giants’ 30 with the Dolphins on top, 7-3. The return into decent field position befan a nine-play TD drive that put the Giants up early in the second quarter.

GASSERS

Offense — None. We’re going to be generous here. No, the unit’s performance was not perfect, but it showed plenty of fight and efficiency.

Defense — OLB J.T. Thomas. He needed to make a solo stop on RB Lamar Miller, but Miami’s top back ran through his attempted tackle on his way to a 38-yard touchdown that put the Dolphins on top, 14-10, with 10:10 left in the first half. The play allowed the Dolphins to seize the momentum, which went back and forth most of the night, and gave the hosts hope that they could maintain a balanced attack (The defense later stiffened and Miami only ran the ball only eight times in the second half).

Special teams — PK Josh Brown. He went wide right on a 48-yard field goal with the game tied at 24 with 37 seconds left in the third.

Follow Paul on Twitter at @GiantsWFAN

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