|Date of game: 10/5/2014
Recap: NY Giants vs. Atlanta
East Rutherford, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Odell Beckham Jr.'s first career touchdown catch highlighted a second-half surge that propelled the New York Giants to a 30-20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium.
Beckham's 15-yard grab of an Eli Manning fade attempt with 10:02 to play was part of a 20-point swing that brought New York (3-2) back from a 20-10 third- quarter deficit to post its third consecutive win.
Fellow rookie Andre Williams added a touchdown run during the rally, while Manning connected with Rueben Randle for a scoring strike earlier and finished with 200 passing yards and no turnovers on a 19-of-30 completion rate.
Beckham, the Giants' first-round pick of the 2014 draft who sat out the first four games with a hamstring injury, had 44 yards on four receptions in his debut. Williams, pressed into an extended role when Rashad Jennings sprained his left knee in the third quarter, totaled 65 yards on 20 carries.
Julio Jones hauled in 11 Matt Ryan passes for 105 yards and Antone Smith had a 74-yard touchdown catch for Atlanta (2-3), but the Falcons' offense went cold down the stretch en route to the club's 10th loss in its last 11 on the road.
"The fourth quarter was ours," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin stated. "It was very good. Congratulate our team. We battled back and we won the fourth quarter and looked like the Giants in the second half and all three areas contributed very well."
Ryan ended 29-of-45 for 316 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
Atlanta's maligned defense had acquitted itself well through 2 1/2 quarters, but wilted during the game's latter stages as the Giants put together two straight touchdown drives to move in front.
New York churned out 81 yards in nine plays, keyed by Randle's 9-yard grab on 3rd-and-2 that preceded an 11-yard Williams run to the Falcons' three. Two plays later, Williams powered across the goal line on a shotgun handoff to bring the Giants within 20-17 with 2:05 remaining in the third quarter.
After Atlanta went three-and-out, Manning directed a methodical 11-play, 64- yard series that Victor Cruz kept alive with a 12-yard catch-and-run on 3rd- and-8 prior to being brought down at the Falcons' 22.
Two snaps afterward, Beckham fought off a hand check from cornerback Robert Alford to make a leaping snare of Manning's high-arching toss into the end zone to give New York a 24-20 advantage.
"I was impressed," Coughlin said of Beckham. "He is certainly going to add a lot to our weapons and our opportunities. For the first time back and for not having the preseason and all of those types of things, the athleticism was obvious to everybody and his speed will have to be reckoned with."
The Falcons failed to make a first down on their next touch as well and the Giants took over at their own 45 following the punt. Another third-down conversion, a 9-yard catch by Cruz, set up Josh Brown to knock through a 50- yard field goal try that made it a 27-20 game with 5:01 to go.
New York was successful on 9-of-15 third-down attempts for the game, compared to a 2-of-13 showing for Atlanta.
"We couldn't get anything going offensively there in the second half and we couldn't get the stops that we needed," Falcons head coach Mike Smith remarked. "We are extremely disappointed in the way that the game finished."
The Giants' defense then came up big once again. Mike Smith opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 from his team's 29-yard line, but Ryan was sacked by Johnathan Hankins to turn it over on downs.
The excellent field position led to Brown booting a 26-yard field that put the Falcons in a 10-point hole nearing the two-minute warning, and Atlanta only got as far as the Giants' 39 on its final offensive trip when time ran out.
"In this position you make decisions and you can't have regrets," said Mike Smith of the failed fourth-down opportunity. "You make those decisions that you think are the best for you and your football team to win the ball game, and I think that was the best opportunity to win the game."
Each team delivered a long touchdown drive on its second possession of the day, with the Giants marching 83 yards in 11 plays and Atlanta answered with a 9-play, 80-yard jaunt.
Manning's 42-yard completion to a wide-open Preston Parker on 3rd-and-4 put New York deep in Falcons territory on its second series. A quick strike to Randle from three yards out, which also came on third down, started the scoring midway through the first quarter.
Jones did much of the work on Atlanta's countering sequence, hauling in three Ryan passes for 45 yards, and Steven Jackson broke loose off left tackle to tie the score at 7-7 with a 10-yard run late in the opening period.
Parker then had the ball jarred loose on the ensuing kickoff, with Eric Weems recovering for the Falcons at the New York 21. Despite having a 2nd-and-goal at the opposing 2-yard line later on, Atlanta settled for Matt Bryant's 20- yard field goal and a 10-7 edge after the Giants' defense held.
Following an exchange of punts, New York drew even by embarking on a 9-play, 50-yard drive capped by Brown's 49-yard field goal with 3:40 left in the first half.
The Falcons again had a response, as Ryan hit on six consecutive throws -- including a 22-yarder to Roddy White -- to get the ball down to the Giants' 2- yard line with time winding down.
Atlanta's offense stalled down near the goal line once more, however, with Prince Amukamara's pass breakup intended for White forcing Bryant to kick another 20-yard field goal to send the Falcons into the break up 13-10.
The Falcons extended the margin in the third quarter courtesy of Antone Smith, who took in a short pass and shook off a tackle attempt from Antrel Rolle at his own 30-yard line before turning on the jets and racing down the sideline for a highlight-reel 74-yard touchdown.Game Notes
Jennings had 55 yards on 10 carries prior to exiting ... Giants tight end
Larry Donnell was held without a reception on just one target after coming up
with three touchdown catches in New York's Week 4 win at Washington ... Randle
now had nine touchdown catches in the Giants' last 12 home games ... Atlanta
played without three starters along the offensive line, with center Joe Hawley
and right tackle Lamar Holmes placed on injured reserve during the week and
left guard Justin Blalock inactive due to a back injury ... Falcons defensive
end Osi Umenyiora, who spent nine seasons with the Giants from 2003-12, had a
sack against his former team.