Giants 27, Falcons 14

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ATLANTA (AP)—Tiki Barber and the New York Giants did a pretty good impression of the Atlanta Falcons.

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 Sunday.

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 defense.

“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 146 yards.

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 yards.

“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 overcome it.”

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.

Notes

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.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 NY Giants
J. Shockey J. Shockey TE
6 Rec, 55 yds
2 TDs
 Atlanta
W. Dunn W. Dunn RB
14 Rush, 146 yds
1 TD

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Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards

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