Giants Lay a Goose Egg in Uninspired, Sloppy 34-0 Loss to Falcons
It was simple, really.
The Atlanta Falcons needed a win to clinch home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, and would have loved nothing more than to get it against the very same team that knocked them out of last year’s playoff tournament with a 24-2 win.
The Giants, meanwhile, needed to keep winning to stay in control of their destiny what with Washington and Dallas breathing down their neck for the division title.
In the end, the Giants zoned out as quarterback Eli Manning put his team in a hole with two interceptions that led to 10 Falcons points while the giants defense couldn’t’ get out of its own way en route to a 34-0 embarrassing loss to the AFC South champions.
The Falcons jumped out to a 14-0 lead after just 14 minutes of play as Manning was picked off on his very first pass from scrimmage by defensive back Asante Samuel, who returned it to the Giants 16. It was the third time in his career that Manning’s very first pass of the game was picked off, and the second time by Samuel, who last did it as a member of the Eagles.
From there, it was all downhill for the Giants, who were unable to get any consistency on offense, their lone legitimate scoring drive resulting in an inexplicable botched 30-yard field goal attempt by kicker Lawrence Tynes, who seems to have drastically cooled off in that department after starting out perfect earlier in the year.
The Falcons, who by this time were already up 7-0, converted Tynes’ missed field goal into a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan to by tight end Tony Gonzalez to make it 14-0.
Things continued to go downhill from there as in the second quarter, Manning was picked off again, this time the Falcons converting tat turnover into a 38-yard field goal by kicker Matt Bryant.
Head coach Tom Coughlin, looking to spark his struggling team decided to borrow a page out of Atlanta’s book from last season when the Falcons in the Wild Card game tried twice to convert on fourth down. In addition, just as the Giants defense did last year, the Falcons defense twice denied the Giants a chance to continue their drive in the second quarter, forcing the turnover of the ball on downs, and ending up with a 17-0 halftime lead.
Things really began to fall apart of the Giants in the second half when Atlanta scored on its first three drives to double their point total. The Giants defense, who had no answers for the Falcons mix of runs and passes, ended up on the field for a little over 23 minutes as Manning and the offense sat by idly wondering what might have been.
With the loss and the win by the Redskins, the Giants fell a half game back behind Washington, who by virtue of having the better division record, moves into first place in the NFC East. The Giants will need to win out if they are to have any chance of getting back into the post season, their best chance coming as a wild card.