Eli Manning was only sacked once, a combination of his ability to release the ball quicker, his mobility and better blocking by the offensive line.
Jeremy Shockey was the recipient of Manning's first NFL TD pass, catching a 6-yard score in the third quarter.
With 107 yards on the ground, Tiki Barber topped 1,000 yards for the third season in a row.
What went wrong
The Falcons marched basically effortlessly on their first drive, moving 84 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a six-yard Michael Vick pass to Alge Crumpler. Vick had 53 rushing yards on the drive.
Manning wasn't helped by Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey, both of whom dropped at least one easy pass and another catch-able Manning offering.
The Giants return games were pathetic. Mark Jones gained one whole yard on four punt returns, while Willie Ponder gained 36 yards on two kickoff returns. Both players had done a pretty good job to this point, but failed badly against Atlanta.
While New York was only flagged six times, a couple of the calls were key losses for the Giants, and bailed the Falcons out of serious jams.
The Falcons held the ball for more than nine minutes in each of the first two quarters.
Giants record: 5-5
This time last year: 4-6
Time of game: 3:08
Stat worth noting: With 104 rushing yards, Michael Vick because the first quarterback in NFL history to post five 100-yard games in a career. Several more are on the way.
Stat worth noting II: The Giants did better than usual on third downs, converting six of their 13 opportunities. Unfortunately, the Falcons had the exact same success against the Giants defense.
Turning point: The Giants had basically stopped the Falcons with less than five minutes to play, and Big Blue trailing 14-10. However, a late flag was thrown on Carlos Emmons for roughing Michael Vick and instead of punting from their own 9-yard line, the Falcons converted a third-and-13 and kept the ball.
"That was a horrible call," Osi Umenyiora said. "He actually hit Will Allen. He didn't even hit (Vick)."
"Had we not had that penalty we would have had the ball around the 50 and had a good chance," Tom Coughlin said.
Play to remember: The touchdown. Manning fired an absolute laser in between multiple defenders for New York's only TD of the game. Shockey, who made a great grab after earlier drops, on the sideline faked throwing the ball into the stands and instead handed it to Manning.
Play to forget: Manning's second pick, late in the third quarter, was thrown right to the defender, Brady Smith. Manning was looking for Amani Toomer, but threw his pass right into Smith's numbers. Adding insult to injury, Manning was penalized for a personal foul during the return.
By the numbers
1: Amount of people that think the Giants can beat the Eagles Sunday - Tom Coughlin.
3: Straight losses by the Giants. New York's surprising 5-2 start seems like a distant, distant memory now.
6: Different Giants receivers that can say they caught a pass during Eli Manning's professional debut - Jeremy Shockey, Ike Hilliard, Tiki Barber, Jim Finn, Amani Toomer and Marcellus Rivers.
45.1: Manning's QB rating. The prized rookie certainly left himself plenty of room for improvement in the coming weeks.
What they said
"When your defense plays that well and holds Atlanta to 14 points, you should win that game." - Giants QB Eli Manning
"It wasn't pretty. We stayed together and held it together. It wasn't pretty but a victory on the road against a conference opponent is huge. This says a lot about this football team." - Falcons LB Keith Brooking