MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – De’Von Achane’s teammates are learning to brace for a big play each time the rookie running back touches the ball.
Achane delivered Sunday with a 76-yard rushing touchdown that helped the Miami Dolphins to a 31-16 win over the New York Giants.
He averaged 13.7 yards on 11 carries for a total of 151 yards, becoming the first Dolphins player with three straight 100-yard rushing games since Jay Ajayi in 2016.
“It’s very promising to know that he knows where he’s going to line up,” said quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, “and then basically if he’s getting the ball, you know it’s going to be a big play more often than not.”
The Dolphins’ 524 yards gave them 2,568 for the season, which is the most yards through the first five games of a season in NFL history.
With the win, Miami (4-1) regained first place in the AFC East after the Buffalo Bills (3-2) lost to Jacksonville in London earlier Sunday.
Tagovailoa was 22 for 30 for 308 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions.
The Giants’ Jason Pinnock returned one of the interceptions 102 yards for New York’s only touchdown. It was the Giants’ first touchdown in the first half of a game this season. The 102-yard interception return tied for the longest in Giants history.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones left in the fourth with a neck injury after a sack by linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel. Tyrod Taylor replaced Jones with 12:11 left and led the Giants on a scoring drive capped by a 51-yard field goal by Graham Gano.
Jones had X-rays after the game and will undergo imaging tests on Monday to determine the severity of the neck issue.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to protect him better,” Giants coach Brian Daboll said.
Achane’s 76-yard touchdown in the second quarter helped Miami to a 17-10 halftime lead and made him the only player in the Super Bowl era with seven touchdowns through his first four NFL games. He had four touchdowns against Denver in Week 3 and two against Buffalo last Sunday.
Achane reached 21.76 mph on his touchdown run, according to NFL NextGen Stats.
Tyreek Hill caught a pass from Tagovailoa on Miami’s next drive that went for 64 yards. Hill’s top speed on that play was 22.01 mph, which is the fastest ball-carrier speed in the NFL this season. The Dolphins are responsible for the seven fastest speeds in the NFL. Three belong to Hill and three to Achane. Raheem Mostert, who had a 2-yard rushing score Sunday, has the other.
“It’s real-deal speed, and that was the deciding factor,” Giants linebacker Bobby Okereke said. “Explosive plays won them the game. I thought we played good defense in spurts, but we’ve got to play a full game.”
Hill hauled in eight passes for 181 yards, topping 150 yards receiving for the 13th time in his career. He tied Calvin Johnson for the third-most such games in a player’s first eight NFL seasons, joining Lance Alworth (17) and Jerry Rice (16).
Hill also had a 69-yard touchdown catch on Miami’s opening drive of the third quarter that put the Dolphins ahead 24-10. He was flagged for taunting after the play when he jumped into the stands to give the ball to his mother.
“The ref came and told me, he was like, ‘You got a taunting penalty for jumping in the stands,’” Hill said. “I’m like, ‘Bro, you would’ve (done) the same thing for your mom, too, so why would you give me a flag for that?’”
The Dolphins averaged 9.7 yards per play, and their pass rush looked better after struggling to impact Josh Allen last week. Miami had 14 quarterback hits and seven sacks. Those plays kept the Dolphins ahead despite self-inflicted wounds that prevented them from further pulling away from the Giants.
“Sometimes the messy games are my favorite with regard to that stuff,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said. “You turn the ball over, that’s hard. But the best way to separate yourself is to be able to come back from that and progress forward.”
The Giants (1-4) forced a turnover for the first time this season when safety Xavier McKinney forced a fumble of Achane in the second quarter, which edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux recovered.
The Giants moved the ball at times — they had 268 yards — and forced three turnovers but only had nine offensive points to show for it.
Gano missed a 55-yard field-goal attempt in the first, then converted a 48-yarder for New York’s only offensive score of the first half.
Jaylen Waddle caught Tagovailoa’s first touchdown on Miami’s opening drive for his first TD catch of the season.
OFFENSIVE LINE WOES
The Giants started their fourth different offensive line combination of the season with Ben Bredeson moving to center for John Michael Schmitz Jr., who was out with a groin injury. Jones was sacked six times after Seattle took him down 10 times Monday night.
Giants: RB Sanquon Barkley was inactive for the third straight game with an ankle injury.
Dolphins: LG Isaiah Wynn left in the second half with a neck injury.
Giants: At Buffalo on Oct. 15.
Dolphins: Host Panthers on Oct. 15.
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