The Atlanta Falcons emerged 23-20 victors as they piled more NFL misery on the struggling New York Giants.
New York fell to 1-6 for the season after falling to Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Monday.
The game had all the makings of an exciting contest: an elite quarterback in Matt Ryan, a seasoned pro in Eli Manning, two great wide receivers and an explosive rookie running back. But, the teams combined for more sacks than touchdown and one of the most sluggish first halves in the last seven seasons.
Ryan played through the pressure and lifted the Falcons, connecting with tight end Austin Hooper and receiver Marvin Hall for two of the longest play of the day, including this 47-yard touchdown pass, and never looked back.
Manning and the Giants could not get Odell Beckham Jr. or Saquon Barkley going and sunk deeper into the NFC East standings. A late rushing touchdown from Barkley and a last-second score from Beckham stopped the bleeding but New York could not crawl out of their deficit.
Giants' spark came too late
Manning was waiting for his moment. Ryan got his with the first touchdown pass of the game, but it would take the Giants quarterback a whole lot longer.
Giants veteran Manning had opportunity after opportunity to inch just a little bit closer. There was just one problem, he could not capitalise on them. He finished the game 27-of-38 passing for 399 yards and one touchdown, but when push came to shove the Giants buckled. And, the coaching staff were not much help, either.
Late in the game, New York were within striking distance. The Giants scored a touchdown with five minutes left in the fourth quarter and had a chance to pull within seven with an extra point, but a botched two-point conversion attempt set them back. Again, a late touchdown with five seconds left put New York within three.
But, questionable play calling did not give the visitors enough time after the score as two quarterback sneaks milked the clock in the final minute.
Why go for the keeper with time winding down? Why test a red-zone offense that was already shaky? The Giants were successful just once in four red-zone appearances before Beckham's touchdown.
The decisions left New York on the losing end when they were in desperate need of a win.
One mediocre offensive line versus another
When looking at the sack totals, you would think each team had a good pass rush — that is not the case.
Both teams entered the game ranked at or near the bottom of the league in sacks. Atlanta had 10 and New York were tied for a league-worst with seven. But on Monday, the Falcons and Giants combined for seven total sacks. Yes, the pass rush was good but the offensive lines were worse.
There was little protection for each quarterback and the play callers handled each situation well, but Ryan outplayed Manning thanks to his receiving corps. The trio of targets gave Ryan plenty of options for quick releases when facing pressure. Manning, who connected with Beckham eight times, could not utilise Barkley, the Giants formidable running back.
The Falcons extended plays by taking advantage of all their lanes, but Manning could not do the same — with the garbage time scores being the only exception.
Beckham still managed to have a career game
There is no question that Beckham and Julio Jones are two of the best receivers to ever do it, and Monday proved that.
It was not a standout performance by any means, but it was a record breaking one. Beckham reached the 5,000th career receiving-yard mark and did so in fewer games (54) than any player since the 1970 merger. The wideout he passed? Jones. The eight-year veteran reached 5,000 in 56 games.
How exactly did Beckham reach that milestone? Only in the most OBJ way possible.
Beckham finished with 143 yards on his eight receptions. He also tallied the late score. Jones led the Falcons with 104 yards on nine catches.
|Bournemouth boss Howe says no offers received for Wilson|
|Kerber cruises after Wozniacki, Sabalenka upsets|
|Mbappe a great player and great person, says beaming Beckham|
|Gracia confident someone will step up if Doucoure leaves for PSG|
|Albrighton signs new Leicester deal|
|Niasse joins Cardiff on loan from Everton|
|Hendrick credited with Fulham strike|
|Western Sydney Wanderers 1 Adelaide United 2: Goodwin compounds Wanderers woes|
|Chahal and Dhoni carry India to ODI triumph|
|Levante report Barcelona for alleged use of ineligible player in Copa del Rey|
|Solskjaer regrets Sanchez´s Reading setback|
|Tomic brands Hewitt a ´liar´ as feud continues|
|Ruthless Nadal thrashes teenager De Minaur|
|Wozniacki enjoyed status as defending champion in Melbourne|
|Solskjaer backs Mourinho to return to football´s big time|
|Murray to miss Open 13 Marseille|
|Solskjaer´s United turnaround no easy task, says Hughton|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|How James Harden´s 2018-19 numbers compare to his MVP campaign|
|It´s insane! - Tsitsipas excited to face ´legend´ Federer|
|Sharapova ends Wozniacki title defence|
|American teen Anisimova sends records tumbling at Aus Open|
|Lakers survive Ball´s gaffe to beat Thunder in OT|
|Federer expects ´athletic´ and ´attacking´ Tsitsipas clash|
|Alcacer is fit and available – Favre|
|Fantastic Federer breezes past Fritz|
|Pogba happy with Man United approach under Solskjaer|
|Mickelson leads Desert Classic, ties career-low with 12-under 60|
|Warriors´ Durant on Curry: He´s a once-in-a-generation, once-in-a-lifetime talent|
|Patriots owner says Brady is greatest player, not just quarterback, of all time|
|Inglis to retire from representative duty this year, NRL in 2020|
|Is Beal better without Wall? Wizards star says it´s ´absolutely nonsense´|
|Rockets C Capela undergoes thumb surgery, expected back after All-Star break|
|This Week in U.S. Sports: Irving apologises, Machado´s agent isn´t happy|
|Knicks in woeful shape, but 2019 could still be bright in New York|
|Valverde not worried about Levante´s Copa appeal|
|Nowell an option for England at flanker, reveals Jones|
|Pellegrini: Arnautovic available for the right price|
|Knicks throw away 19-point lead and lose on last-second goaltending call|
|Tebow invited back to Mets´ major league spring training|
|Canelo and Jacobs agree unification fight|
|Barcelona 3 Levante 0 (4-2 agg): Dembele at the double as Barca advance|
|Levante to lodge complaint over Barcelona Copa selection|
|Kanter´s London absence ´very unfortunate´, says NBA commissioner|
|NBA could swap London for Paris in 2020|
|Spurs coach Popovich uncertain if he will return next season|
|Pistons´ Griffin fined for verbal abuse of official|
|Everton do not have financial conditions to enter transfer market - Silva|
|Andy Cole joins Sol Campbell´s coaching staff at Macclesfield|
|Atletico confirm Saul has thigh injury|
|Wood replaces injured Stone in England squad|
|Lebanon 4 North Korea 1: Disciplinary record cruelly denies Radulovic´s men|
|Saudi Arabia 0 Qatar 2: In-form Ali bags brace as Qatar top group|
|Robertson signs new Liverpool deal|
|Vunipola backs Farrell to thrive in solo leadership role|
|People don´t know what´s going on behind the scenes - Mourinho defends United stint|
|Indefatigable Muguruza knocks out Konta at 3:12am|
|Serena coasts, difficulties for Halep and Muguruza´s marathon|
|Lowry retains Abu Dhabi lead|
|Djokovic battles past Tsonga, young guns flourish|
|Louisville airport to be renamed in Muhammad Ali´s honour|
|Emery not thinking about Ozil speculation|
|Sri Lanka hopeful over Kusal Mendis finger injury|
|Oman 3 Turkmenistan 1: Last-gasp Al-Musallami guarantees progression|
|Emery wants Cech to end career ´in a good moment´|
|Japan 2 Uzbekistan 1: Shiotani stunner seals comeback and top spot|
|Calhanoglu deal ´financially impossible´ for Leipzig|
|Not seen at Aus Open since Nadal, Djokovic and Murray in 2009 – ´Next Gen´ make move|
|Martial: Solskjaer lets me express myself|
|Djokovic sees off Tsonga to reach third round|