After their loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, the New York Giants failed to convert in the clutch on Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Falcons, losing 24-20 at home at Metlife Stadium.
Despite his poor decision-making late in games, Eli Manning, performance wise, did alright with two touchdowns on 292 passing yards with no interceptions. He was successful with one of the league’s best wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr., who had seven receptions for 146 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had a terrific game, but his statistics don’t really stand out. He had one touchdown on 363 yards passing and also had no interceptions. He connected with his top wide receiver Julio Jones 13 times. Jones had 135 receiving yards and was targeted 15 times.
With about a minute remaining in the game, The Giants were leading 20-17. Matt Ryan launched a 37-yard strike to Julio Jones, which was at first ruled a touchdown. The play was then reviewed and a replay concluded that Jones’s knee was ruled down at the two yard line. The next play, Falcons running back Devonta Freeman bulldozed through the Giants shorthanded defensive line for the touchdown to give the Falcons a late 24-20 lead. Freeman did not play well with 12 carries on 25 yards, but he was a catalyst to give the Falcons their second win of the season.
Eli Manning could have put the Falcons out of the game if he had just managed the clock better. The same issue happened in their Week 1 loss against the Cowboys when he could have taken a sack in the red zone to keep the clock ticking. Prior to the Freeman score, the Giants received the football with 4:24 left in the 4th quarter. Their drive lasted three plays for 1:12 and resulted in a punt.
After the Falcons scored late, The Giants had the opportunity to capitalize again in the clutch. The Giants final drive lasted 39 seconds on five plays. Manning misfired passes to Larry Donnell, Jerome Cunningham and Preston Parker. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was not happy with his second consecutive loss.
“We talk every week about finishing. That wasn’t a finish for me,” Coughlin said. “We talk about don’t keep score, I’ll keep score, and let you know when the game’s over. That’s not what happened. The competitive nature of the finish of the game has got to improve,” Coughlin added. “It’s our own doing. There’s nobody to blame but us.”
Manning also was not pleased with the results of his team losing late in games this season. “We’re having penalties and mistakes at different times,” Manning said, “that are preventing us from being as good as we can be.”
The Giants are preparing for their next matchup in a division rivalry game with the Washington Redskins on Thursday night. The Redskins (1-1) just came off an impressive 24-10 win versus the defensive-minded St. Louis Rams.