EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ
After three games and a lot of lousy football, Arthur Smith finally earned his first victory as an NFL coach and his first game ball, thanks to Matt Ryan.
As for the celebratory locker room dance for the Falcons following their 17-14 last-second victory over the New York Giants on Sunday, Smith and owner Arthur Blank declined to participate. There is more work to be done.
âYears from now you will look back, but really it’s everyone in this organization. The credit goes to them, not to me, âsaid Smith. “I hope we get a lot more wins than just one.
Younghoe Koo kicked a 40-yard field goal at the end of time and Ryan threw two touchdowns and led the final game-winning game as the Falcons (1-2) handed the Giants (0-3) their second. consecutive defeat in the last game.
âTo have been there for a long time and to know that it is difficult to win in this league, the first time as a head coach is a special moment,â said Ryan. âI hope it’s something he will always remember, this game here. This play ball is a nice little thing to have to remind you of that. He was fired. “
Ryan finished 27 of 36 for 243 yards and found Cordarrelle Patterson for 28 yards and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts for 25 on the winning run of 58 yards in the 1:58 final. He also threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Olamide Zaccheaus at the end of the first half and added a 1-yard pass to Lee Smith to tie the game with 4:13 remaining.
The loss marred a day when the Giants retired two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning’s jersey and added his name to the Ring of Honor at MetLife Stadium. Co-owner John Mara was booed by fans during the halftime ceremony with the team trailing 7-6, and the final kickoff sparked more dissent.
New York took a 14-7 lead on a 1-yard dive from Saquon Barkley and a 2-point conversion from Daniel Jones with 12:53 remaining. It was Barkley’s first touchdown since the last game of the 2019 season. He tore his ACL last year.
Ryan then collected 72 yards for the Falcons in 16 games to tie on an extended drive when Adoree Jackson dropped an interception in the end zone and then a penalty before the tying score.
The Giants got their own 49 in the series that followed, but a sack forced a punt that gave Atlanta, who allowed 40 points per game on the top two, a chance to win.
âWe fought and when it was time we stepped up and made the plays that we had to make,â said Ryan. âThe last two training sessions were with the clutch and really good for us. “
While losing hurts, Barkley believes in this team, which opened last season 0-5 under coach Joe Judge.
âI told the guys we have something special,â he said after gaining 51 yards on 16 carries. âI don’t know when this is going to happen. But we think he will. We have to believe in each other and believe in the plan. And when that happens, we have something special.
The Giants had two 73-yard drives that failed late due to a sack and a mismanaged slam. Graham Gano kicked 25- and 31-yard baskets for a 6-0 lead.
The Giants removed Manning’s No.10 jersey in a halftime ceremony.
Manning, who retired after the 2019 season, was taken on stage by his offensive line. He ended his brief speech by quoting the last owner of the Giants, Wellington Mara, who frequently said: âOnce a giant, always a giant.
As the crowd screamed for Manning, current part-owner John Mara was booed when he spoke. The Giants haven’t made the playoffs since 2016.
Atlanta: DL Marlon Davison injured his ankle late in the first half and did not return.
New York: Inside linebacker Blake Martinez, the Giants’ leading tackle last season, injured his knee in the first set and did not return. WRs Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard were also knocked out of the game in the first half due to hamstring injuries.
With receivers down, Collin Johnson stepped in and had five catches for 51 yards in his first game.
Atlanta: in Dallas on October 3.
Giants: Visit New Orleans on October 3. It will be the Saints’ first home game since Hurricane Ida displaced the team last month. There was also a fire on the roof of the Caesars Superdome last week.