Ryan throws for 379 yards, Falcons beat Giants 23_20

October 23, 2018 - 4:02 am

© Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports


ATLANTA (AP) _ 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 Monday, 
throwing for 379 yards and completing his final 18 passes to lead the Atlanta 
Falcons to their second straight victory, 23_20 over the struggling New York 
 ``Whatever it takes to win,'' Ryan said. ``That's the mindset we have every 
 Ryan threw a 47_yard touchdown pass to Marvin Hall, Tevin Coleman broke loose 
on a 30_yard scoring run and 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.
     Ryan is only focused on the team's performance.
     ``To inch our way closer to .500 is a positive for us,'' he said.
 It was also 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 said. ``He did a great job for 
us coming in on short notice.''
 Facing one of the NFL's worst defenses, New York botched its best scoring 
chance by going for a touchdown on fourth_and_goal from the 1 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 
 Manning was sacked four times but still managed to complete 27 of 38 for 399 
yards. Beckham hauled in eight passes for 143 yards, pushing him past 5,000 
yards in his career, and Sterling Shepard finished with 167 yards on five 
 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.
 Coleman's touchdown with 71/2 minutes remaining gave the Falcons some breathing 
room, but the Giants finally showed some life offensively. 
 Manning completed five passes for 61 yards before Saquon Barkley powered over 
from the 2 with 4:47 remaining for New York's first TD of the game. Embattled 
coach Pat Shurmur decided to go for 2, looking to put his team in position to 
win with another score, but Beckham couldn't hang on to Manning's pass.
 The Falcons drove into position for Tavecchio's final field goal, extending the 
lead to 23_12.
 The Giants did manage a touchdown with 5 seconds remaining as Manning hooked up 
with Beckham on a 1_yard scoring play, but only after the quarterback was 
stuffed on two straight attempts to run it over, burning off most of the scant 
time on the clock. 
 The Falcons were the first team to hold Barkley to less than 100 yards rushing 
and receiving in a game.
 The rookie running back was limited to 43 yards on 14 carries, to go along with 
nine catches for 51 yards.
 It was Barkley's second_lowest rushing output of the season, eclipsed only by a 
28_yard effort against Dallas in Week 2.
 Barkley was coming off his best game of the season, totaling 229 yards (130 
rushing, 99 receiving) in a loss to Philadelphia.
 Bryant is one of the NFL's most accurate kickers, but Tavecchio sure made a 
good impression in his return to the NFL.
 His 56_yard kick was the longest by a player in his first game with a new team 
in the last 40 seasons, according to NFL Research. He also connected from 40 and 
50 yards.
 Tavecchio kicked last season for the Oakland Raiders, but he was without a job 
until Bryant injured his right hamstring making a long kick in Atlanta's victory 
over Tampa Bay.
 That prompted the Falcons to bring back Tavecchio, who got a brief look from 
the team at the end of the preseason.
 Even though Bryant will surely reclaim his job as soon as he's healthy, 
Tavecchio set himself up to draw attention from other teams when he goes on the 
open market again.
 The Falcons lost another guard when Brandon Fusco went down late in the first 
half with a right ankle injury.
 Fusco had to be helped off the field by a pair of trainers, and he was quickly 
taken to the locker room on a cart.
 Atlanta had already lost another starting guard, Andy Levitre, to a 
season_ending injury. 
     Ben Garland took Fusco's spot on the line.
     UP NEXT
 Giants: New York returns home next Sunday to face NFC East_leading Washington 
 Falcons: Atlanta also plays Washington in its next game _ but not until Nov. 4 
after a bye week.