Eli Manning can’t get touched, the New York Giants can’t lose. Winning their third straight win-or-you’re-out home game, the Giants completely dominated the playoff-troubled Atlanta Falcons, keeping their offense well at bay, advancing to a Packers showdown after a 24-2 win.
Matt Ryan found out how hard life in the playoffs can be once again, losing his third postseason game in four seasons. The Falcons have a good quarterback in Ryan, but rely on Michael Turner opening things up for him. When Turner goes for over 100 yards, the Falcons win. He ran for only 41, as the Falcons got only 64 on the ground. The had a total of 247 yards.
For the Giants, it was the same of a good thing that’s been pushing this team forward. A newly found running game, with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw combining for 155 yards. Eli Manning took care of the touchdowns, as he danced his way through Falcons rushers, throwing three touchdown passes and 277 passing yards. More importantly maybe was the fact that Victor Cruz hardly touched the ball. He’s not the only Giants receiver worth watching. Hakeem Nicks finished with 115 yards and 2 TDs, Mario Manningham also caught one in the end zone.
And the Giants’ pass rush. Long arms, athletic, and playing better than any front four right now in the NFL. They didn’t sack Ryan, but they didn’t let him get a clear view of the field. Six passes deflected, as Ryan threw for 24-41 and 199 yards.
What seemed to really kill it for the Falcons was the play-calling, which was conservative, boring and predictable. Even when they went for fourth downs, they tried obvious QB sneaks while the Giants stacked the line. Not enough play actions, and simply a bad job of handling an offensive scheme. The Giants’ defense had a field day with Mike Smith’s guys.
It’s less than a yard, less than half of a yard. It’s a play we go through all the time. I felt it was the right play both times, but we didn’t execute. We should be able to move the ball there. (Mike Smith)
Tom Coughlin was especially happy about his team’s defense – That really inspired everybody, to be honest with you. hose plays that our defense made really inspired everybody. Tony Gonzalez losing his fifth playoff game in five postseason appearances, agreed – They did a great job of defending us, especially in the second half. That shouldn’t happen to a team like we have. We’re a lot better than this.
The Giants won their first playoff game at home since 2000. The Falcons haven’t won in the postseason since 2005, when Michael Vick was a god in A-Town. One team, the Giants suddenly got all of its moving part to work simultaneously at exactly the right time. The vaunted pass rush, Eli Manning looking like he has all season while the running game finally clicking. The Packers are the favorites, especially on the frozen tundra, but the Giants look like they can pull an upset.