For the second straight week, the Giants led their opponent by 10 points in the fourth quarter, and for the second straight week they were defeated. This time, the result was a 24-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, who were led by 363 passing yards from quarterback Matt Ryan. 135 of those yards were on Julio Jones receptions. The All-Pro wide receiver hauled in 13 of his 15 targets, including a crucial 37-yard catch that led to the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Giants trailed by four points and had possession in the final two minutes, but their final drive came up short when Eli Manning threw an incomplete pass intended for Preston Parker on fourth down. Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caught seven passes for 146 yards and a score during the game, but it wasn’t enough to push New York over the top.
“You never want to lose,” said Beckham, “That is never the goal and I feel [like] this team played great today – offense and defense, you know we’re flying around and it is the second week in a row, so no confidence is lost. I actually feel really good about not where we are as a record but where we are as a team and where to go from here.”
Beckham and company appeared to have the Falcons on the ropes when Manning hit tight end Larry Donnell with a touchdown pass that made the score 20-10 early in the third quarter. After Atlanta went three-and-out, the Giants moved the ball deep into Falcons territory again, but Manning was sacked by defensive end Kroy Biermann and lost the ball. After Atlanta recovered the fumble, Ryan led the team on a 91-yard touchdown drive.
“I feel as though we beat ourselves,” said Beckham, “This game, last game, I don’t compare them so I’m never going to believe that we didn’t beat ourselves and there [are] things that we need to correct – dropped balls, fumbles, whatever the case may be, we just need to clean it up and find a way to get it done.”
Another blown lead in the fourth quarter is bound to put a sour taste in the Giants’ mouths, but they don’t have to let it linger very long. The team will try again for its first win of the season this Thursday night versus Washington. With the rival Eagles off to a slow start and Dallas suffering through key injuries, New York still has a great chance to jump into the NFC East race with a victory this week.
“Being a competitor,” said Beckham, “You want to win every single game no matter what and these are tough bullets to swallow, but these are the ones that build your team – they either make or break your team, I feel. And I feel as if we can only get stronger. You can only hang your head so low. I think we played a really good game of football, we just didn’t finish.”
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