Beating the Falcons at their own game, Barber rushed for 185
yards, Jeremy Shockey caught a couple of touchdown passes and the
Giants overpowered Atlanta in the second half for a 27-14 victory
The Giants (3-2) fell behind 14-3 when Warrick Dunn broke off a
90-yard touchdown on Atlanta's first offensive play of the third
quarter -- the longest run in team history. But New York dominated
the Falcons (3-2) the rest of the way, going ahead with touchdown
drives of 84 and 91 yards.
"The good thing is we didn't get away from our running game
despite being down by 11 points," Barber said. "We did what we do
best, and that is running the football."
After Dunn's touchdown, New York scored on its next four
possessions, piling up 240 yards while holding the ball more than
18 minutes. The Falcons went three-and-out on their next three
possessions, doing nothing to help out their beleaguered, banged-up
"The offense kept the defense out there way too long," tight
end Alge Crumpler said. "We pride ourselves on taking care of the
football and controlling the clock. That didn't happen today."
Barber did much of the damage, breaking off nine runs of at
least 12 yards against a defense that was allowing just 69.3 yards
per game, the second-best figure in the league. New York scored the
final 24 points of the game, shredding a banged-up defense that had
given up only one touchdown all season.
"They just ran it down our throats," Dunn said, who rushed for
The Giants' defense pounded Michael Vick, who was slow to get up
from several huge licks, threw an interception and fumbled four
times (though he lost only one). The quarterback did break off a
spectacular 22-yard touchdown run -- capped off with a somersault
into the end zone -- but he completed only 14 of 27 passes for 154
"They just challenged us man-on-man up front," Vick said. "I
really didn't see too many blitzes. Everything they did was pretty
basic, pretty vanilla. It was about execution. As a quarterback,
you are going to see some pressure. You have to find a way to
New York, which had only five sacks in its first four games,
took down Vick seven times. Osi Umenyiora and Brandon Short each
had two sacks, and Vick even took a brutal hit from Antonio Pierce
after running out of bounds in the final minute, the late hit
nearly sparking a skirmish along the Falcons' bench.
"We knew we had to put pressure on him and keep him inside,"
Giants cornerback Sam Madison said. "If you contain him, that's
half the game."
John Abraham returned to the Falcons' defensive line after
missing three games with a groin injury. He dominated early, but
wasn't on the field in the fourth quarter after tightening up. Two
other linemen, Patrick Kerney and Rod Coleman, also went out with
injuries late in the game.
The Giants sure took advantage of Atlanta's backups, piling up
259 yards on the ground. The Falcons, by far the NFL's best running
team, had another big game with 223 yards on the ground -- the
fourth time they've eclipsed 200 yards this season -- but wound up
playing second fiddle to Barber and Co.
Dunn stunned the Giants when he broke through a huge hole up the
middle for the longest run in Falcons history, eclipsing rookie
Jerious Norwood's 78-yard run against Arizona two weeks ago.
New York closed to 14-10 on Brandon Jacobs' 2-yard run and
appeared to go ahead when Barber dove into the end zone on a run
around left end from the 15. The play was overturned after the
replay showed Barber's left foot stepped out of bounds at the 2,
but that merely delayed the inevitable.
On the next play, Eli Manning threw to Shockey in the left
corner of the end zone to put the Giants ahead for good in the
final minute of the third quarter.
New York poured it on in the fourth period. Former Falcons
kicker Jay Feely booted his second field goal of the game from 39
yards, and Manning hooked up with Shockey on a 4-yard touchdown
that sealed the victory with 3:45 to go.
Manning overcame a shaky start. After throwing two interceptions
in the first quarter, he rebounded to go 17-of-30 for 180 yards --
more than enough production with the way Barber was running.
"That's big for us, him running the ball," Manning said. "He
makes the play action start opening up. Every game, every day, he
impresses me more."
The Falcons were impressed, too.
The Giants haven't lost in Atlanta since 1978, winning six
straight games over the Falcons as the road team. In fact, the
visiting squad has won 11 straight in the series. ... Vick rushed
for 68 yards. ... Vick's 14 completions were a season high, while
Manning's 17 completions were his lowest of the year.