Sunday’s Falcons-Giants game looks a lot like last year’s playoff game between the two teams as the home team has taken firm control of the game before the half thanks to some big mistakes by the visitors.
Unfortunately for the Giants, this year’s game is in Atlanta. The Falcons lead 17-0 thanks in large part to two Eli Manning interceptions and two Giants failures on fourth down. Manning was picked off on his first pass of the game and later got a pass nabbed by Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud, leading to two short fields and 10 points for the Falcons offense.
The Giants had three chances to get points after driving the ball into Falcons territory, but came up empty all three times. David Wilson was stuffed on one fourth down conversion attempt and Victor Cruz couldn’t handle an Eli Manning pass after the two minute warning to kill another drive. Lawrence Tynes also missed a 30-yard field goal, his third miss in as many weeks.
All of those mistakes and failures are a big honking reason why the Giants trail by three scores despite outgaining the Falcons by nearly 70 yards in the first half. Give credit to the Falcons defense as well, obviously, especially for coming up big after surrendering a lot of yards before the Giants’ wasted scoring opportunities.
The Falcons offense hasn’t been great, particularly a running game that’s averaging less than three yards per carry, but it has done enough. Matt Ryan completed his first eight passes and finished the half 10-of-12 for 97 yards and a touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez at the end of an 80-yard drive following Tynes’ miss.
That’s the only heavy lifting the Falcons offense has had to do at this point. If things remain that way, the Falcons will have a win that quiets some of their doubters heading into the postseason.