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Grading the Giants in Week 3 loss to Falcons

Keion Crossen #31 of the New York Giants

Keion Crossen #31 of the New York Giants looks on after the Atlanta Falcons kicked their game winning field goal as time expired during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sep. 26, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac


They had two drives in the first half that brought them inside the Atlanta 15 and scored just 6 points. Their opening drive gave them first-and-goal at the 8, only to be pushed back by a sack. Their next time in the red zone, Daniel Jones let a shotgun snap go through his hands for a loss of 11 yards before a false start pushed them back farther. They did score a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but 14 points against a team that had allowed an average of 40 in the first two games is awful. That their most inspiring play was a two-point conversion run in which the quarterback lowered his shoulder to push into the end zone says as much about Jones as it does the rest of the team. Jones hit C.J. Board for a 38-yard gain on the opening drive but did not have another play longer than 19 for the rest of the game


Every point the Falcons scored on Sunday came within the final 4:13 of either half, with 10 of them scored inside the final 1:33. The Giants gave up a 44-yard touchdown drive late in the second quarter that took just 36 seconds to complete and allowed the Falcons to gain 55 yards on the first three plays of their final possession to put them in field goal range almost immediately after receiving the punt. Logan Ryan and Adoree’ Jackson missed interceptions, Ryan missed a key tackle and was flagged for pass interference, and rookie Rodarius Williams missed a tackle on a screen to Cordarrelle Patterson that sparked the game-winning drive. One bright spot: Azeez Ojulari had a sack for the third straight game, making him the first NFL player with at least one sack in each of his first three career games since Cleveland’s Myles Garrett in 2017.


Riley Dixon did a good job putting punts inside the 20 (he did so twice, once with help from Keion Crossen who tipped the ball away from the goal line), but when the Giants needed to pin the Falcons the most with 1:50 remaining, he sailed it into the end zone for a touchback. Jabrill Peppers had two punt returns for 36 yards but the Falcons downed three of their punts inside the 20. Graham Gano extended his streak of consecutive field goals made to 37 with two kicks from 25 and 31.


Those two timeouts the Giants burned early in the second half would have come in very handy as the Falcons watched the last minute of play basically trickle away before they kicked the game-winning field goal. Joe Judge threw his first official challenge flag of the season (he threw one illegally in the opener) and just the second of his career trying to change an incompletion by the Falcons to a catch and a fumble. It did not work. The offensive play-calling was out of whack with the loss of Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton to early injuries. Now they have to try to construct a scheme that features Kadarius Toney rather than sprinkles him in. Defensively the Giants need to figure out what their problem is in the final two minutes of halves.

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