Falcons hold off Giants

The Associated Press

ATLANTA–Matt Ryan is putting up MVP-like numbers–even on a team that hasn’t lived up to expectations.
“Matty Ice” turned in another brilliant performance in prime time last night, throwing for 379 yards and completing his final 18 passes to lead the Atlanta Falcons to their second-straight victory–a 23-20 win over the struggling N.Y. Giants.
“Whatever it takes to win,” Ryan said. “That’s the mindset we have every week.”
Ryan threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Hall, and Tevin Coleman broke loose on a 30-yard scoring run, as the Falcons added another chapter to New York’s miserable season–sending the Giants (1-6) to their fourth-straight loss.
“I don’t feel like we’re a 1-6 team,” Odell Beckham Jr. said.
“That’s what our record is but that’s not the feeling in the locker-room.”
Ryan was the league’s MVP in 2016 when he led Atlanta to the Super Bowl.
While these Falcons (3-4) haven’t played to that level, their quarterback is putting up numbers that measure up to what he did two years ago: a 71.1 percent completion rate, 2,335 yards passing, 15 touchdowns, and just two interceptions.
But Ryan only is focused on the team’s performance.
“To inch our way closer to .500 is a positive for us,” he remarked.
It also was a big night for Giorgio Tavecchio, who was signed during the week to fill in for injured Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant.
The native of Milan, Italy made all three of his field goal attempts, including a 56-yarder that was the longest of his career and helped seal the victory.
“That kick was good from about 65 yards,” Ryan noted.
“He did a great job for us coming in on short notice.”
Facing one of the NFL’s worst defences, New York botched its best scoring chance by going for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line early in the third quarter.
To the surprise of no one who has seen the Giants stumble through the season, Eli Manning’s pass for tight end Scott Simonson fell harmlessly to the turf.
Manning was sacked four times but still managed to complete 27-of-38 passes for 399 yards.
Both teams got off to sluggish starts offensively. The Falcons failed to cross midfield on their first three possessions and the Giants weren’t much better.
Then, suddenly, Atlanta struck for two big plays to grab the lead.
Ryan went down the left sideline to tight end Austin Hooper for a 36-yard gain, pushing the Falcons into New York territory for the first time.
Then Ryan spotted Hall breaking free down the middle of the field, hitting him perfectly in stride for the touchdown.