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ATLANTA FALCONS 23 – NEW YORK GIANTS 20…
In a game that was not as close as the final score would suggest, the New York Giants fell to the Atlanta Falcons 23-20 on Monday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. With the defeat, the Giants overall record dropped to 1-6.

Once again, the Giants were done in by their inability to score sufficient points. Perhaps the most telling and decisive statistic of the game was that the Giants were 2-of-5 in red zone opportunities.

New York had four first-half offensive possessions. The first three ended with punts. The fourth was an 11-play, 77-yard drive that stalled at the Atlanta 9-yard line, and only resulted in a 31-yard field goal with four minutes to go before halftime.

Meanwhile, the Falcons also struggled to move the ball on their first three possessions, each ending with a punt. However, a quick, 3-play, 86-yard drive late in the 2nd quarter gave Atlanta a 7-0 advantage. The score came on a 47-yard pass from quarterback Matt Ryan to wide receiver Marvin Hall against cornerback Janoris Jenkins. The Falcons followed this up with a 6-play, 53-yard possession right before halftime that set up a successful 40-yard field goal.

At the half, the Falcons led 10-3.

The Giants opened the second half with a promising drive, as New York moved the ball from their own 25-yard line to the Falcons’ 1-yard line. However, on 3rd-and-goal, running back Saquon Barkley was stuffed. On 4th-and-goal, quarterback Eli Manning’s pass intended for tight end Scott Simonson fell incomplete. The Giants came away with no points.

The Falcons then moved the ball from the shadow of their own goal line to the New York 32-yard line. But then Jenkins forced a fumble that was recovered by cornerback Eli Apple at the 20-yard line. A 51-yard pass from Manning to wide receiver Odell Beckham helped to set up the Giants at the Falcons’ 18-yard line. But the Giants could get no closer after three straight incompletions by Manning. Place kicker Aldrick Rosas kicked a 36-yard field goal to cut the score to 10-6.

The Falcons responded with a 7-play, 43-yard drive that set up a successful 50-yard field goal and the Falcons were once again up by seven points early in the 4th quarter. After the Giants went three-and-out, the  Falcons drove the ball 65 yards in nine plays, culminating with a 30-yard touchdown run by running back Tevin Coleman. The Falcons now led 20-6 midway through the final period.

As has been the Giants’ modus operandi this season, the Giants scored a touchdown when the game was all but officially over. New York drove the ball 78 yards in nine plays, finishing with a 2-yard touchdown run by Barkley. Oddly, Head Coach Pat Shurmur decided to go for a 2-point conversion that failed. The Giants trailed 20-12 with less than five minutes to play.

The Giants’ defense could not force a quick three-and-out as Atlanta gained 37 yards in eight plays. Worse, the Falcons converted on a risky 56-yard field goal attempt. Atlanta now had a two-score advantage at 23-12 with less than two minutes to play.

Again, with the game all but over, New York scored a touchdown. But they wasted valuable time with two back-to-back quarterback sneaks at the 1-yard line. The final score – a Manning to Beckham touchdown pass – came with only five seconds left in the game. The 2-point conversion attempt succeeded. The game ended after the ensuing failed onside kick attempt.

Offensively, Manning finished the game 27-of-38 for 399 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. His leading targets were Barkley (9 catches for 51 yards), Beckham (8 catches for 143 yards and 1 touchdown), and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (5 catches for 167 yards). Barkley was limited to 43 rushing yards on 14 attempts.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 423 total net yards (67 rushing and 356 passing). The Giants did sack Ryan three times, with one sack each by linebacker Lorenzo Carter, defensive end Kerry Wynn, and cornerback B.W. Webb. The Giants forced one turnover, the fumble recovery by Apple caused by Jenkins.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were right guard Patrick Omameh (knee), wide receiver Russell Shepard (neck), wide receiver Jawill Davis (concussion), quarterback Kyle Lauletta, defensive tackle John Jenkins, cornerback Mike Jordan, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Cornerback Eli Apple injured his ankle, but returned to the game.

ROSTER MOVES…
On Sunday, the New York Giants signed wide receiver Quadree Henderson to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad. To make room for Henderson, the team waived tight end Garrett Dickerson. The 5’8”, 192-pound Henderson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. The Steelers waived him before the season started. Henderson has experience as a returner.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Pat Shurmur (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (Video)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (Video)
  • TE Evan Engram (Video)
  • CB Janoris Jenkins (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media by conference call on Tuesday.

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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