Rapid Reaction: Falcons 34, Giants 0
December, 16, 2012
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPN.com
ATLANTA –- The NFC wild-card playoff rematch between the Giants and Falcons was a complete mismatch as Atlanta destroyed the defending champs 34-0.
What it means: The Giants continued their maddeningly inconsistent ways by following up their big win over the Saints with an embarrassing loss at Atlanta.
The defense had no answers for the Falcons' offense, got little pressure on Matt Ryan and couldn't cover Julio Jones. Eli Manning threw two picks in the first half, David Wilson couldn't get going and the Giants were stopped cold on fourth-and-short three times.
The NFC East is now officially up for grabs.
Ugly start: Manning threw two interceptions in the first half, one on the second offensive play of the game when Asante Samuel picked him off at the Giants' 22 and returned it 6 yards to set up a Michael Turner touchdown run.
On the Giants' next drive, Lawrence Tynes missed a 30-yarder and the Falcons made them pay again. Ryan hit Tony Gonzalez on a touchdown pass to push the Falcons up 14-0.
In the second quarter, Tom Coughlin went for it on fourth-and-1 twice and was denied both times. At the Falcons' 32, Wilson ran to his left side only to be stuffed. Then with less than two minutes left, the Giants went for it again at the Falcons' 11, only to see Manning's pass to Victor Cruz get broken up.
The Falcons were able to go into the half with a 17-0 lead.
The Hokie rookie I: Jayron Hosley started at corner for the injured Prince Amukamara and had a tough day. He bit on a Ryan pump fake that led to a 37-yard pass to Harry Douglas. Hosley pulled up lame and injured his ankle on that play but returned.
He had a nice breakup on a deep pass to Roddy White but later gave up a 40-yard touchdown to Jones, who ran right by him to put the Falcons up 24-0 with 11:31 to go in the third quarter.
Jones beat Corey Webster on his second touchdown, in the fourth quarter.
The Hokie rookie II: Wilson started for Ahmad Bradshaw (knee) and ran as hard as he could, but there wasn't a lot of running room.
Wilson also didn't get a huge workload because the game slipped out of the Giants' hands. On the second play of the game, Wilson was practically flattened by linebacker Sean Weatherspoon while blocking on the play in which Manning threw a pick.
Backup Kregg Lumpkin saw a good amount of action, being used on several draw plays.
Wilson remained the kickoff returner but couldn't do much on kickoffs, either. Atlanta made sure to keep the explosive Wilson in check.
Wilson finished with 55 yards on 12 carries. Lumpkin rushed eight times for 42 yards.
Paying tribute: The Giants wanted to do what they could to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Coughlin spoke to his team about the tragedy during his Saturday night meeting, and the players had "SHES" on their helmets. Coughlin had it written on his hat, as well.
Cruz paid tribute to 6-year-old Jack Pinto. After learning that Pinto was a Cruz fan, the receiver spoke to Pinto's parents. They told him that they had been contemplating burying their son in a Cruz No. 80 jersey. Cruz had the words "Jack Pinto 'My Hero'" written on his cleats and "Jack Pinto 'This One is 4 U'" on his gloves.
What's next: The Giants travel to Baltimore for a slugfest with the Ravens.