Jones dominates, Falcons rally by Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Julio Jones outshined Odell Beckham Jr., and it was just enough for the Atlanta Falcons to win their second straight game.
Jones caught a perfect 37-yard pass from Matt Ryan, setting up Devonta Freeman’s 2-yard touchdown run with 1:14 remaining, lifting the Falcons past the New York Giants 24-20 Sunday.
Jones was unstoppable in the Falcons’ second straight victory, tying the club record with 13 receptions, good for 135 yards. His biggest catch was down the left sideline behind Prince Amukamara in the dying moments.
The Giants (0-2), whose bad decisions and poor execution cost them last week at Dallas, blew a 20-10 fourth-quarter lead. Leonard Hankerson caught a 10-yard TD pass to bring Atlanta within three. Then Ryan guided the Falcons 70 yards to the winning score.
Eli Manning misfired to two open receivers on the Giants’ final drive in another ugly finish for New York.
In the first half, Beckham turned a short pass into a 67-yard touchdown, one of New York’s six plays of 19 yards or more. But another late meltdown was decisive.
The Falcons needed Jones’ big day – he tied Tony Gonzalez’s club mark for receptions- because they lost rookie starting running back Tevin Coleman (ribs) in the first half. Ryan turned to the air and threw for 363 yards and one score.
Despite frequent double-team coverage, Beckham, the 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year, set an NFL mark with 1,495 yards in the first 14 games of a career. He had seven receptions for 146 yards Sunday.
On his TD, Beckham sped the final 40 yards alone after bursting through a small hole between two defenders who could only flail away.
Shane Vereen made another big play thanks to one of many missed tackles by the sloppy Falcons’ defense. On another short throw from Manning, he got past linebacker Paul Worrilow and sped to a 37-yard gain. Three players later, New York led 20-10 as Larry Donnell made a sliding catch with cornerback Robert Alford on his back.
During that drive with the second-half kickoff, the Giants lost first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers. The left tackle hobbled off with a sprained left ankle.
New York appeared headed for another score after yet another long gain, a 35-yard run by Andre Williams. But Manning was sacked by Kroy Biermann and fumbled at the Atlanta 9. Ryan immediately hit an uncovered tight end Jacob Tamme for 41 yards on a methodical drive.
Tamme later was guilty of holding to negate a touchdown, but Ryan’s perfect dart to leaping Hankerson made it 20-17.
Coleman scored Atlanta’s first touchdown on a 1-yard run.
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