AT A GLANCE: After losing to the Panthers on a 63-yard field goal with one second remaining in Week 5, the Giants saw their Monday night game against the Falcons all but slip away when Giorgio Tavecchio, who was kicking in place of injured Matt Bryant, made a 56-yarder to put Atlanta ahead by two scores with 1:55 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Giants eventually found the end zone on the ensuing drive, but it wasn’t enough in a 23-20 loss that dropped the team to 1-6 on the season.
UP NEXT: In their last game before the bye week, the Giants return home to host the 4-2 Washington Redskins, who lead the NFC East after defeating the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. In 2017, the Giants and Redskins split their season series for the third year in a row, with each team winning at home. Big Blue is 6-2 vs. Washington at MetLife Stadium.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE:
*Spencer Pulley, who signed with the team on Sept. 2, made his first start as a Giant on Monday night. He lined up at center, where he started all 16 games last season for the Chargers. He played in place of John Greco, who moved to right guard after Patrick Omameh was ruled out with a knee injury.
*Eli Manning, who was sacked four times, completed 27 of 38 passes for 399 yards with one touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr. with five seconds remaining in the game.
*Wide receiver Sterling Shepard provided a spark early in the second half with a 53-yard catch-and-run only to have Giants’ red-zone woes continue. Big Blue didn’t find the end zone in its first three trips inside the 20, settling for two field goals in addition to a failed fourth-down conversion attempt. The offense eventually broke through on rookie running back Saquon Barkley’s two-yard touchdown run that cut the deficit to 20-12 with 4:47 left in the fourth quarter. Head coach/play-caller Pat Shurmur then decided to attempt a two-point conversion, but Manning and Beckham couldn't connect, keeping it an eight-point game.
*Barkley was held to eight yards on seven carries in first half, and finished the game with 43 on 14 attempts. The second overall draft pick also caught nine passes for 51 yards, snapping his historic streak of six games with 100 scrimmage yards to begin a career. Only he and Kareem Hunt had accomplished the feat in NFL history.
*The Giants had a pair of 100-yard receivers in Beckham (eight receptions for 143 yards) and Shepard (five for 167). According to NFL Research, Beckham reached 5,000 career receiving yards in fewer games (54) than any player since the 1970 merger. The player he passed? Atlanta’s Julio Jones, who accomplished the feat in 56 games.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE:
*The Giants matched their season-high sack total in the first quarter alone, taking down former NFL MVP Matt Ryan three times (defensive end Kerry Wynn, rookie defensive tackle B.J. Hill and rookie outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter) in the first two drives. The Giants had just seven sacks – three against Houston in their only victory -- heading into Monday night.
*The Falcons turned the ball over a league-low three times in the first six weeks, but the Giants managed to take one away in the third quarter when Janoris Jenkins stripped Julio Jones and Eli Apple recovered. It was initially called an incomplete pass, but Shurmur successfully challenged the ruling. The Giants turned it into three points on the ensuing possession.
*Big plays ultimately decided the game on a night when the Giants managed to do a good job in getting off the field against the high-flying Falcons. A 47-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Marvin Hall opened the scoring, and Tevin Coleman’s 30-yard touchdown run broke the game open, giving Atlanta a 20-6 lead with 7:47 remaining in the game. Ryan completed his last 18 passes to end the game.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS:
*Signed off the practice squad the day before the game, Quandree Henderson returned two punts for 29 yards. That included a 21-yarder, the team’s longest of the season. The Giants had just 39 total punt return yards in their first six games combined.
*The Giants also got a lift from their punt coverage units as Riley Dixon downed two inside the 20, including one by Antonio Hamilton at the one.
*Aldrick Rosas, who missed his first field goal attempt last week, made both his attempts on Monday night from 31 and 36 yards. He is now 15-for-16 on the season.
INJURY REPORT: CB Eli Apple (ankle, returned)
INACTIVES: NYG – RG Patrick Omameh (knee), WR/KR Jawill Davis (concussion), WR/KR Russell Shepard (neck), QB Kyle Lauletta, S Kamrin Moore, CB Mike Jordan, DT John Jenkins. ATL – K Matt Bryant (right hamstring), RB Brian Hill, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, DE Steven Means, G Zac Kerin, OT Matt Gono, DT Michael Bennett.
LINEUP CHANGES: NYG – John Greco for Omameh at RG, Spencer Pulley for Greco at C. ATL -- 4 Giorgio Tavecchio for Bryant at K.
Photos: Giants vs. Falcons from the sidelines
View the best gameday photos as the Giants take on the Falcons