EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.-- Another week goes by, and it's another disappointing loss for the New York Giants as they fall to the Atlanta Falcons 17-14 at home.
The extended rest and planning that comes with playing on Thursday were squandered as the Giants only scored 14 points against a team that ranked second in the league in points allowed.
It was a similar script of mediocrity from the Giants: mistakes, missed opportunities and defensive stands that ended in Atlanta touchdowns.
Injury fortune also played a factor as the 0-3 Giants lost wide receivers Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, two key players in this week's game plan, and inside linebacker Blake Martinez, Martinez to a possible serious knee injury that game on a non-contact play.
The Giants outgained Atlanta by 50 yards, won the time of possession 31:51 to 28:09, and had more first downs (21 to 18), yet they still lost the game. New York was penalized eight times for 53 yards, alarming if you consider that this team preaches the fundamentals every week, yet when push comes to shove, they fail to live up to their expectations.
Atlanta's offense was stifled for the most part in the game, but the Giants' defense continued its inability to play consistent defense in the two-minute drill.
On the second Falcons' touchdown drive, the Giants allowed a 3rd-and-8, 3rd-and-4, and 3rd-and-2 to be converted. They also committed an obvious defensive pass interference on 3rd-and-Goal against tight end Kyle Pitts.
Patrick Graham's defensive unit has to hunker down when it matters most, and they've failed to do so in three straight games, also allowing two straight game-winning scores as time expired and three straight scores to close out the half.
The Falcons’ drive was almost lost when Matt Ryan threw a pass right to cornerback Adoree Jackson, but the cornerback couldn’t hang onto the football. After the game, Jackson said he was “pissed at himself.”
He should be; opportunities like that don’t come too often, and it just seems this Giants team fails to capitalize on opposing mistakes. In this case, the mistake hurt as a few plays later, tight end Lee Smith scored a touchdown to tie the game 14-14.
Fans of the Giants let a collective and stressful sigh as the Falcons marched down the football field to close the game. It was seven plays that started with a fake toss, backside screen to Cordarrelle Patterson for 28-yards. All the Falcons had to do was get into field goal range for Younghoe Koo, and sure enough, he drilled the 40-yard attempt.
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The Giants' offense continued to struggle in the red zone. An 11-play 73-yard drive ended in a field goal, as did a 15-play, 73-yard drive--the latter being a drive ended by a high snap and a false start penalty against fullback Eli Penny.
Saquon Barkley was able to run the football a bit. He had 51-yards and a touchdown but on 16-carries which is an average of 3.2 yards per carry. Barkley was also used well in the screen game for a few chunk gains.
Tight end Evan Engram returned to the lineup and was primed to have a breakout game, especially after the injuries suffered by Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard. Alas, Engram put the football on the ground on his second catch in a two-minute drill, forcing the defense back on the field for another touchdown chance to conclude the half. Luckily for the Giants, Azeez Ojulari sacked Matt Ryan to force a fumble to keep the score at 7-6.
The Giants have proven to be a lousy football team through three games--there is simply no sugarcoating this. They haven't won a game in three winnable matches. Undisciplined teams lose football games, and the Giants aren't a good football team. They were one of the "winners" of free agency, but the product on the field has proven inadequate so far.
Remember, New York was coming off a frustrating Thursday Night Football loss to the division rival Washington Football Team. They really should have won that football game, but inexcusable mistakes led to their demise. They had ten days to stew with that loss and correct the mistakes.
The conservative nature of head coach Joe Judge was evident again in this game. On 4th-and-4 at the Falcons 39-yard line, Judge punted the football. Yes, this is a conservative move in a close game.
The Falcons failed to take advantage as punter Riley Dixon, and gunner Keion Crossen pinned the ball at the 4-yard line. To be fair, the Giants' injury situation on offense might have played into the decision here, but this is still worth mentioning.
New York is now 0-3 for the third time in five years. They travel to New Orleans to play the Saints, who defeated the New England Patriots 28-13 in Foxborough in Week 3.
The Giants' 2021 hole keeps getting deeper as this team struggles to figure out how to win. But most of all, it was a terrible way to honor Eli Manning, whose jersey was retired at halftime, and who was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor.
More from Giants Country
- New York Giants ILB Blake Martinez Ruled Out of Game with Knee Injury
- New York Giants Fall to Falcons 17-14 In Mistake-Filled, Ugly Game
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