Matt Ryan threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Hall, Tevin Coleman broke loose on a 30-yard scoring run and the Atlanta Falcons added another chapter to New York‘s miserable season, beating the Giants 23-20 on Monday night.
Ryan completed his final 18 passes and finished 31 of 39 for 379 yards, sending the Giants (1-6) to their fourth straight loss. Giorgio Tavecchio, filling in for injured Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant, sealed the victory for Atlanta (3-4) with the longest field goal of his career from 56 yards.
Facing one of the NFL’s worst defenses, New York botched its best scoring chance by going for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 1 early in the third quarter. To the surprise of no one who has seen the Giants stumble through the season, Eli Manning’s pass for tight end Scott Simonson fell harmlessly to the turf.
Manning was sacked four times but still managed to complete 27 of 38 for 399 yards. Odell Beckham hauled in eight passes for 143 yards, his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season, and Sterling Shepard finished with 167 yards on five receptions.
The passing game got little help from the ground attack, however. Rookie Saquon Barkley was limited to 43 yards on 14 carries, forcing the Giants to go one-dimensional.
Both teams got off to sluggish starts offensively. The Falcons failed to cross midfield on their first three possessions, and the Giants weren’t much better.
Then, suddenly, Atlanta struck for two big plays to grab the lead. Ryan went down the left sideline to tight end Austin Hooper for a 36-yard gain, pushing the Falcons into New York territory for the first time. Then Ryan spotted Hall breaking free down the middle of the field, hitting him perfectly in stride for the touchdown.
The teams traded field goals in the final minute of the first half, sending the Falcons to the locker room with a 10-3 lead.
Tavecchio, who first connected from 40 yards, added a 50-yard kick that extended the lead to 13-6 on the opening play of the fourth quarter.
Coleman rumbled for another Atlanta TD without being touched, giving the home team some breathing room before the Giants finally showed some life offensively. Manning completed five passes for 61 yards before Barkley powered over from the 2 with 4:47 remaining for New York’s first TD of the game. But coach Pat Shurmur decided to go for 2, looking to put his team in position to win with another score.
Manning pass for Beckham was knocked away, and the Falcons drove for Tavecchio’s clinching field goal.
The Giants did manage a touchdown with 5 seconds remaining as Manning hooked up with Beckham on a 1-yard scoring play, but only after the quarterback was stuffed on two straight attempts to run it over, burning off most of the scant time on the clock.
The Falcons lost another guard when Brandon Fusco went down late in the first half with a right ankle injury.
Fusco had to be helped off the field by a pair of trainers, and he was quickly taken to the locker room on a cart.
After initially announcing that Fusco’s return to the game was questionable, the Falcons declared him out.
Atlanta had already lost another starting guard, Andy Levitre, to a season-ending injury.
Ben Garland took Fusco’s spot on the line.
Giants: New York returns home next Sunday to face NFC East-leading Washington (4-2).
Falcons: Atlanta also plays Washington in its next game — but not until Nov. 4 after a bye week.
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