Giants disappoint Falcons in OT

Getty Images/C.McGrath

Getty Images/C.McGrath

The Falcons dropped a heart-breaking game to the New York GIants by a score of 34-31 in overtime. The Falcons made a valiant comeback with two fourth quarter touchdown drives to tie it up at 31-31. But the Giants won the toss in overtime, and were able to drive down the field and Lawrence Tynes hit a game-winning 36-yard field goal. The Falcons fall to 5-5 and are now on the outside looking in as far as their playoff hopes are concerned.

Matt Ryan’s play improved from recent weeks, completing 26 of 46 passes for 268 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jason Snelling replaced an injured Michael Turner today and rushed for 76 yards on 25 carries and 2 scores. Tony Gonzalez led receivers with 8 catches for 82 yards and a touchdown, including the game-tying one. Michael Jenkins had 6 catches for 76 yards. Roddy White added 4 grabs for 45 yards. Eric Weems had Ryan’s other touchdown pass, as his lone catch on the day was a 4-yard score which cut the Giants lead to 31-24 with 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter. On the first fourth quarter drive, Ryan led the Falcons on a 12-play 65-yard drive. Jenkins was able to convert a key third down early on the draft, while Gonzalez converted two more in Giants territory before Ryan hit Weems for the score. The Falcons got the ball back with 3:42 left at their own 24-yard line. Ryan led them on another 12-play drive. Gonzalez had 4 catches on that drive for 37 yards, including an 11-yard score with just 35 seconds remaining.

The Falcons defense had early struggles, giving up 203 passing yards in the first half. Eli Manning ended the day with 384 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. They were able to limit the Giants ground attack to 88 yards.  However, the defense gave up a lot of big plays in the passing game. They gave up a 23-yard pass to Mario Manningham in overtime, which put the Giants in field goal range. Manningham also had a catch of 33 yards, while Steve Smith had a 51-yard grab, Kevin Boss 28 yards, and Hakeem Nicks had a 30-yard catch as well. Curtis Lofton and Mike Peterson shared the team lead with 11 tackles. Jonathan Babineaux (4 tackles), Erik Coleman (8 tackles), Chauncey Daivs (3 tackles), Thomas DeCoud (5 tackles), Brent Grimes (7 tackles, 1 interception), Chris Houston (5 tackles), and Stephen Nicholas (5 tackles, 1 sack) had noteworthy performances.

Jason Elam continued his streakiness, missing a 35-yard field goal. He did however make a 25-yarder. Michael Koenen had 2 punts for an average of 26 yards with 1 placed inside the 20-yard line. Eric Weems averaged 23.3 yards on 4 kickoff returns and 12 yards on 2 punt returns.

The Falcons hope to regroup for a home game next week vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-9). It will be the first of three home games that the Falcons hope can regain their momentum in their playoff push down the stretch. The Falcons are 4-0 at home this season and have won their last 7 at home. It will mark their first matchup against their division rival this season. They beat the Bucs in their last home matchup last season with a 13-10 win in overtime. And prior to that have split their last 4 at home vs. the Bucs.  However, they’ve lost 6 of their last 10 vs. the Buccaneers.

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Aaron Freeman
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