It was deja vu all over again for the New York Giants as for the second week in a row they blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter to lose. The benefactor this time was the Atlanta Falcons who scored two late touchdowns to erase a 10-point deficit to win 24-20 and improve to 2-0 on the young season.
“This league is all about finishing, so today is a great example,” said Falcons head coach Dan Quinn.
Once again Sunday saw the Falcons take a quick 10-3 lead only to see the Giants score 17 unanswered points and a 20-10 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The match-up between marquee receivers pretty much lived up to the hype as Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr. of the Giants pulled off exciting catches and combined for almost 300 yards of offense.
While those two put on a clinic it was another receiver that subtly made a name for himself with big catches and a touchdown reception. Leonard Hankerson, who was signed in the off-season made key catches and helped lead the Atlanta comeback. ìIím happy for Hank,î said Matt Ryan about his receiver. ìHe worked realty hard coming in here and has done a great job.î
Atlanta’s defense once again rose to the occasion as they pressured Eli Manning and forced turnovers, one of which Ryan credits for the Atlanta comeback. “I think Kroy Biermann got it going for us with the sack-fumble in the red area for us to be able to kind of get it going after that on offense,” he said.
“Well, we never know who is going to be the one to set if off. I think to day it was Kroy with the one that just got it right back to go fight for us and give us a chance,” said Quinn. ìHaving the sack and forced fumble, I think that was the one that ignited us.î
The win did not come without a price for the Falcons. The team lost rookie Tevin Campbell to injury for they next couple of weeks and will fill the void with second year back Devonta Freeman. “You never know coming out of these games what itís going to be with injuries,” said Ryan. “He’s going to be a really good player for us for a long time. When he goes down, you lose one really good player.
Ryan, however, was impressed at the way Freeman filled in. “I was fired up about the way that Devonta stepped up,” he said. “Devonta made some huge plays for us down the stretch that helped us with the game.”
Biermann’s sack and strip of Manning seemed to change momentum for Atlanta as it seemed to spark not only the offense but the defense as well as they shut down the Giants offense the rest of the way. “We’re a unit thatís going to fight. I think weíre still building that,” he said. “We’re still building the camaraderie with the guys in learning each other as players and getting a groove, but one thing is that we’re going to fight no matter what until that last tick on the clock. It’s good for us.”
Asked about the difference between this year’s Atlanta Falcons and last season’s Biermann said, “We’re building it. We’ve got to get used to each other. We’ve got to learn how each guy plays.” “We’re getting a feel for each other. It’s a work in progress. The guys did great. We’re doing great, but obviously there’s improvements that can be made and we’re going to work to get those made and get even better,” he added. “We’re excited for the win today.”
– Dave Weinthal
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