Virtually everyone with an opinion believes their quarterback is done. The offensive line has too many protection issues to count. Despite having one of the NFL’s best receivers and a dynamic rookie running back, the Giants have been unable to score points. They desperately needed a win to silence the critics.
Enter Atlanta, an underachieving team whose defense allowed 32 points per game entering Monday. The Giants won eight of their previous 10 games against the Falcons on the road dating back to 1981. They had a few extra days preparation after Week 6’s Thursday night loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Giants were ready to make a statement at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Unfortunately, it was the same statement prevalent throughout the season: the offense cannot score points. The Giants lost 23-20, their sixth loss in seven regular season games and 19th since the beginning of last season.
The Giants’ wounds were largely self-inflicted Monday night as has been the case throughout this season.
Eli Manning was sacked four times but still managed to go 27-of-38 for 399 yards and a touchdown. He completed 71 percent of his passes with a quarterback rating of 113.8. Odell Beckham Jr. caught eight passes for 143 yards to push him over the 5,000-yard mark for his career. Sterling Shepard chipped in with 167 yards and five receptions…and it still wasn’t enough.
The Giants botched their best opportunity for a touchdown after failing to convert a 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line early in the third quarter. Manning didn’t connect with Beckham on the touchdown until there were five seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. This was after burning precious time off the clock with two run-stuffing plays.
Saquon Barkley was held under 100 all-purpose yards for the first time in his career. However, he did a score a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Head coach Pat Shurmur decided to go for two points with the Giants down 20-12 after Barkley’s touchdown. Manning failed to convert the conversion on a pass to Bennie Fowler.
The defense held their ground at first, forcing the Falcons offense to punt on their first three possessions. This was before former NFL Most Valuable Player Matt Ryan got going. He hit Marvin Hall for the game’s first touchdown. Ryan lived up to his Matty Ice nickname by completing his final 18 passes. He finished 31-of-39 for 379 yards and the touchdown.
Tevin Coleman broke the game open with a 30-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Giorgio Tavecchio, in relief of the injured Matt Bryant, kicked three field goals from 40, 50, and a victory-clinching 56 yards. Tavecchio’s 56-yard field goal was the longest of his career and longest by a player in his first game with a new team in the last 40 years.
The Giants are 1-6 for the second consecutive season but try to telling that to Beckham.
“I don’t feel like we’re a 1-6 team,” Beckham said. “That’s what our record is, but that’s not the feeling in the locker room.”
Beckham is supposed to say that. There’s no way the Giants can feel remotely confident in their team after Monday night’s performance. The offense can’t score and the defense can’t stop anyone. The Giants’ 2018 season is in a coma…the plug just hasn’t been pulled yet.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.