Atlanta Report Card

Here is a report on how players did, position by position, in the game against the Falcons.


Eli Manning underthrew WR Amani Toomer, who seemed to have a step on LCB DeAngelo Hall, who intercepted the pass at the Falcons' 8 and returned it 33 yards with 4:34 left in the third quarter. Manning didn't sense RDE John Abraham coming from behind, and Abraham stripped Manning before his right arm moved forward early in the second quarter. The fumble was recovered by FS Chris Crocker at the Giants' 28, but it didn't lead to points for the Falcons because K Morten Andersen didn't get enough distance on a 48-yard FG attempt four plays later. Bottom Line: Manning was almost flawless in the first half, but a mere mortal in the second half.


After gaining two yards on two carries, including a one-yard score, in the first half, RB Reuben Droughns accounted for first downs on four of his first nine carries in the second half, including a 45-yard run in the fourth quarter. Between burner and ankle injuries, RB Brandon Jacobs ran for five yards or more on eight of his 13 carries. Bottom Line: They can still rely on Droughns after all.


TE Jeremy Shockey's illegal block on Crocker cost the Giants 15 yards, but it swung Shockey into an inadvertent trip of Hall that might've prevented a 92-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the third quarter. WR Amani Toomer masterfully dragged his right foot on the field of play to record a 17-yard catch in front of Hall late in the first quarter. The gain gave the Giants the ball at Atlanta's 1 on the play immediately preceding Droughns' score that helped move the Giants in front 14-10. Bottom Line: Imagine if Plaxico Burress practiced.


RG Chris Snee sealed off WLB Demorrio Williams at the line of scrimmage to help spring Jacobs for a 20-yard run early in the third quarter. C Shaun O'Hara fended off DT Trey Lewis just long enough to allow Manning to uncork a perfect throw to Burress for a 43-yard touchdown that helped give the Giants a 21-10 advantage with 8:21 to go before halftime. Bottom Line: Manning was barely touched and they ran for 188 yards.


On a third-and-10 play from the Giants' 42, RDE Osi Umenyiora's relentlessness led to DT/DE Justin Tuck's eight-yard sack, which forced a punt with about nine minutes left in the third quarter. DT Fred Robbins was too slow to react to a tipped Joey Harrington pass that could've resulted in an interception at the Falcons' 7 early in the third quarter. Harrington connected with WR Roddy White for a 38-yard catch that advanced Atlanta to its 45 on the next play. Bottom Line: They took turns getting in Harrington's face all night.


MLB Antonio Pierce showed speed and agility in dragging down Harrington for a 10-yard sack that forced the Falcons' into a third-and-26 at their own 14, with 1:50 left in the first half. Bottom Line: TE Alge Crumpler caught just one pass for nine yards.


RCB Sam Madison tripped over Crumpler's leg near the line of scrimmage, which allowed White to cut across the field, turning a short toss from Harrington into a 38-yard gain early in the third quarter. Madison never gave up on the play and eventually made the tackle, though. LCB Aaron Ross got turned around on a stutter-step toward the sideline, failed to slow up RB Jerious Norwood and allowed him to race 50 more yards, untouched, down the middle of the field for a 67-yard touchdown run that helped place Atlanta ahead 10-7 with 5:14 left in the first quarter. Bottom Line: They were steady.


K Lawrence Tynes drilled his only FG attempt, a 32-yarder, straight down the middle. But even kicking indoors, only one his six kickoffs landed inside the Falcons' 10. P Jeff Feagles, however, dropped three of his four punts inside Atlanta's 20. The kick return coverage improved, too, allowing an average of just 17.5 yards on six returns. Bottom Line: The units were solid overall.


Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo blitzed just enough to keep a constantly harassed Harrington guessing, but not so much that it became predictable. Whoever advised Tom Coughlin to challenge Manning's fumble early in the second quarter must not have got a clear look at how Manning's right arm was not yet moving forward when Abraham stripped him. Bottom Line: They're one game out of first after a disastrous start.

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