The Giants usually have trouble with domed teams in their comfy confines, so it shouldn’t be a surprise at how badly they struggled in the Falcons’ Georgia Dome, as they got hammered, 34-0.
The loss hurt in many ways, as it was Big Blue’s worst shutout loss since getting blown out by the Cowboys, 35-0, in 1995. But even more importantly, the Giants are now locked in a tie with the Redskins, who beat the Browns, to pull into a first-place tie in the NFC East.
What went wrong …
1. Ryan is the Man
Eli Manning had an abysmal afternoon, going 14-of-26 for 161 yards, no touchdowns and two picks, and was severely outplayed by his counterpart Matt Ryan, who went 23-of-28 for 270 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. Manning never looked in synch with his offense, as he threw two early interceptions to help spot the Falcons a 17-0 first-half lead. The Falcons didn’t really beat up Manning physically, as he was only sacked once, but their speed rushers hurried several throws and made Manning’s day uncomfortable.
2. Receiving nothing
Manning wasn’t sharp at all, but he also got very little help from his receivers. Neither of his dynamic duo, Victor Cruz or Hakeem Nicks, had their usual stellar days. The pair combined for just four receptions for 40 yards in the first half, as Cruz (three catches for 15 yards) and Nicks (three for 40) never freed themselves of the stingy Atlanta secondary. Cruz got blasted on the Giants’ opening drive of the second half — to add to his miserable afternoon — and although he later returned, he wasn’t the same.
3. Wide open spaces
The Falcons’ wideouts had a great day, conversely, specifically Julio Jones. The burgeoning star picked up the slack for the banged-up Roddy White, as he tallied six receptions for 74 yards and two scores. The Giants went into the game already undermanned in the secondary without cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and safety Kenny Phillips (knee). Rookie corner Jayron Hosely was victimized for many of Jones’s highlight catches, as he was Amukamara’s fill-in. Not all could be placed on the rookie, though, as the Giants’ pass rush was again toothless — particularly their prized rush ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora (zero combined sacks).
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.