Another 10-point lead in the fourth quarter turned into another loss for the Giants on Sunday.
After being up 23-13 and losing 27-26 to Dallas in Week 1, the Giants led 20-10 and lost 24-20 to Atlanta in their home opener at MetLife Stadium. Falcons wide receiver Leonard Hankerson caught a 10-yard touchdown from Matt Ryan early in the final frame, and running back Devonta Freeman notched the go-ahead score on a 2-yard run with 1:14 remaining.
Meanwhile, the Giants were shut out after tight Larry Donnell caught a 10-yard touchdown from quarterback Eli Manning with 10:53 left in the third quarter. Until that point, the offense was rolling as it scored 17-straight points, including a 67-yard reception from wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. But in the end, coach Tom Coughlin had to rally his team again from a loss.
"I just asked them to search down inside," Coughlin said. "We talk every week about finishing. That wasn't a finish for me. We talk about 'don't keep score, I'll keep score, I'll let you know when the game's over.' But that's not what happened again today. The whole theme this week was to trust your instincts, trust your preparation, go out and play the game, compete, challenge your opponent right to the very end. Don't worry about the score, I'll tell you what's on the scoreboard, and we'll continue to do that. The competitive nature and the finish of the game has got to improve."
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Down by four points with 44 seconds remaining, Manning threw an incomplete pass intended for wide receiver Preston Parker on fourth-and-10 from midfield.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who orchestrated a seven-play, 70-yard touchdown drive to take the lead on the Falcons' previous possession, took over and knelt for the victory.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Photos from the Giants Week 2 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons
For the Falcons, wide receiver Julio Jones caught 13 passes for 135 yards, 76 of which came in the fourth quarter when they outscored the Giants 14-0. For Big Blue, Odell Beckham Jr. sparked the Giants with a 67-yard touchdown late in the second quarter, finishing the day with seven receptions for 146 yards (only 7 yards in the second half) and the score. The reigning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year now has 1,495 career yards, the most in NFL history in a player's first 14 games.
WHAT THE LOSS MEANS FOR THE GIANTS
For the third-straight year, the Giants begin their season 0-2. In 2014, they rebounded with three victories in a row, but the year before, the streak stretched to a 0-6 start.
Now the Giants will try to flip the script as they prepare to host the Washington Redskins (1-1), whom Big Blue defeated both times last season, on Thursday night. In this case, the quick turnaround might be a good thing from a mental standpoint but not from a physical one. The Giants will await the statuses of left tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (burner/concussion).
"We're not going to feel sorry for ourselves; we didn't do that last week," Coughlin said. "There was frustration, but there wasn't anybody feeling sorry for themselves. It's our own doing. There's nobody to blame but us. Maybe it's better for us to jump right back in. We're not going to get to look at this tape with the players, we'll look at it as coaches, but we've got to jump right on to the next opponent."
WHAT THE WIN MEANS FOR THE FALCONS
After a season-opening win over Philadelphia, the Dan Quinn era in Atlanta begins with a 2-0 jump out of the gates. Quinn previously held the post of defensive coordinator in Seattle, where his No. 1 unit went to back-to-back Super Bowls.
"A new year, a new start," Jones said. "We can control that. Everybody was asking how different it is with Dan Quinn this year. We couldn't do anything about last year (Falcons finished 6-10, the same record as the Giants). This is a whole new year, but it feels great to be 2-0 right now."