Giants 2018 Season Flames Out in Atlanta: Falcons 23 Giants 20?

Giants fall to 1 – 6 for 2nd Consecutive Year

Written by:  Alexander George

Despite Eli Manning throwing for nearly 400 yards and wide receivers Sterling Shepard (5 REC 167 yards, Long – 58 yards) Odell Beckham, Jr. (8 REC 143 yards, 1TD, Long – 51 yards) accumulating more than 140 yards each, the New York Giants lost to the Atlanta Falcons 23 – 20. The Falcons were able to create a few game changing plays that made the difference in their victory. Giants head coach Pat Shurmur also decided on a few risky play calls which cost Big Blue critical points down the stretch of the game and contributed to the loss.

Shurmur did gamble with trying to get more riskier points rather than go for the sure, higher percentage points. In the opening drive of the 2nd half, the head coach elects to go for a 4th down conversation rather than kick a field goal. He also elected to go for the two point conversion, after Saquon Barkley scored on a 2 yard run, rather than the extra point. Big Blue fails to get any points on these two plays.

As risky as those plays are, a pair of failed quarter back sneaks by Eli Manning with 40 seconds left in the game, no timeouts and trailing by 11 points is downright questionable considering Manning’s lack of speed or cunning to score; especially considering that there was no time left to prepare for a proper onside kick. So the play calling and clock management was poorly handled by the head coach and quarterback contributing to a loss of points, time and quite possibly a game.

Manning (27 for 38, 399 yards, 1TD, QTR Rating – 113.8) played his best game of the year in terms of yardage thrown and 2nd best quarterback rating of the year; a whole lot of yards without any sustaining drives resulting in points though. Three of the four possessions in the first half resulted in a punt. Their lone score was a 11 play, 77 yard drive resulting in a 31 yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas. Manning ultimately, failed to capitalize on red zone opportunities converting only 2 out of 5 attempts for 10 points.

Matt Ryan (31 for 39, 379 yards, 1TD, QTR Rating – 115) provided key plays that helped elevate his team to win. He threw a 47 yard strike to receiver Marvin Hall (3REC 63 yards, 1TD) who caught all of Ryan’s passes, for the first team score. His last 18 passes went for completions as Ryan was able to control the tempo of the game. Tevin Coleman’s (11ATT for 50 yards, 1TD) 30 yard touchdown run and Giorgio Tavecchio’s 56 yard field goal maintained the two score lead for practically the entire 4th quarter thereby closing the chances of a Big Blue upset.

The Falcons defense did their job against the Giants running game, particularly Saquon Barkley (14ATT for 43 yards, 1TD). Even though Barkley did tally 50 yards receiving, they were, for the most part, able to contain him where the running back could not explode for that big, mega – play. The defensive front also had an effective game sacking Eli Manning 4 times for 27 yards. Falcons nose tackle Grady Jarrett (6 tackles, 3 solo, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for losses and 2 QB hits) feasted on the Giants and is considered by the NYG Underground staff as the defensive player of the game.

Manning, Sterling Shepard and OBJ had the most yardage in the NFL this week; with Shepard having the most wide receiver yardage. This accomplishment has only illustrated the problem the New York Giants are facing with converting this yardage into touchdowns and wins. Big Blue has trailed in a game more than any other team in the NFL and has scored a league low 13 touchdowns in 7 games. The organization has achieved a franchise low of having a 4 – 19 record since the start of the 2017 season. With a similar start of a 1 – 6 record last season as well, the talk of comparing Pat Shurmur to former head coach Ben McAdoo has begun.

Speaking of a new beginning,  the Giants traded former 2016 first round pick Eli Apple to the New Orleans Saints for draft picks.  The Giants will receive New Orleans 2019 fourth round selection and a seventh round pick in 2020.

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