Archive for Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Manning, Giants rip Falcons

October 16, 2007


New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs (27) is brought down by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking in the second quarter. The Giants routed the Falcons, 31-10, Monday in Atlanta.

New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs (27) is brought down by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking in the second quarter. The Giants routed the Falcons, 31-10, Monday in Atlanta.

— The New York Giants are on another roll. Now, they've got to sustain it.

Eli Manning passed for 303 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Giants to their fourth straight victory, 31-10 over the hapless Atlanta Falcons on Monday night.

The Giants (4-2) took control after a wild first quarter in which the teams combined for 24 points. New York scored the final 24 points to send the Michael Vick-less Falcons tumbling to their fifth loss in six games.

"I felt good throwing the ball," said Manning, who completed 12 straight at one point in the first half. "I was getting opportunities in a timely fashion. I was spreading the ball around to all receivers."

The Giants have bounced back after starting the season with losses to Dallas and Green Bay, but they must be mindful of the collapse that knocked them out of the playoffs a year ago.

A five-game winning streak had the Giants at 6-2 midway through the 2006 season, but they managed just two more wins the rest of the way.

Maybe that's why coach Tom Coughlin didn't sound all that enthused.

"I thought sometimes we did play well offensively, and then sometimes we did not," he said. "There were some issues."

Manning threw a pair of touchdown passes and set up another New York TD with three straight completions, which lessened the damage of two interceptions and losing a fumble when John Abraham knocked the ball loose just before the quarterback's arm went forward.

It also helped to be playing the Falcons, who are averaging just 13.2 points a game.

"They are a good defensive football team," Coughlin said. "They have some problems, obviously, on the offensive side of the ball."

Manning was 27-of-39 and put up his highest total since a 312-yard performance against the Cowboys in Week 1.

He hooked up with Amani Toomer on a five-yard scoring pass in the back-and-forth opening period. Before the half was done, Manning went deep for a 43-yard touchdown to Plaxico Burress that gave the Giants a 21-10 lead; Burress turned to the crowd and bowed after getting wide open down the middle.

The Falcons have little reason to take a bow. Their offense is dreadful, a striking contrast to the high-scoring teams that Bobby Petrino coached in college.

Playing behind a patched-up line, Joey Harrington was sacked four times, had several passes deflected at the line and did plenty of scrambling to avoid New York's fearsome pass rush, which had tied a league record with 12 sacks of Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb two weeks earlier.

The Falcons, who were starting two new tackles because of injuries, actually did a better-than-expected job keeping Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan & Co. away from Harrington. That was largely because Harrington went with quick drops and short passes, not leaving much time to open up the passing game.

"Eventually, they started to dominate the line of scrimmage," Petrino said. "We couldn't sustain the run and execute the passing game."

After yanking Harrington the previous week in favor of Byron Leftwich, the Falcons didn't have a backup plan against the Giants. Leftwich, who signed with Atlanta after Week 2, was designated as the third quarterback because of a sore ankle, and backup Chris Redman has not played in a game since 2003.

"Byron probably could have gone in there and played," Petrino said. "But missing two days of practice when he's only been here a month, that would have been hard to do. We decided to stick with Joey and see what he could do."


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