Giants Beat Falcons in NFL Wild Card Playoff Matchup
MANHATTAN — Now they're blue birds.
The Giants ran roughshod over the Falcons in the first round of the playoffs at home Sunday — holding Atlanta to just two points before a raucous home crowd at the Meadowlands.
Driven by a newly invigorated ground game fueled by power running back Brandon Jacobs and a relentless passing attack, the Giants put three touchdowns on the board for a 24-2 finish, in their post-season appearance since the 2007 season.
All of the Giants' touchdowns in the Wild Card game were in the air, with quarterback Eli Manning passing for 277 yards. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks pulled down two TD catches and racked up 115 yards in front of the amped up crowd at MetLife Stadium.
But the defense shut down Atlanta, with the Falcons failing to convert on a number of tries and the Giants racking up two sacks.
Now Big Blue heads to Green Bay to face the powerhouse 15-1 Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs. They barely lost to the Pack in a matchup last month.
The newly hot Giants were coming off a rout of the Cowboys in the Meadowlands last weekend to win the NFC East Division and a punishing victory over the Jets the week before.
After a series of losses in the second half of the season, the Giants turned the ship around beginning last month with a combination of offensive firepower and newly-invigorated defense.
Breakout star wide receiver Victor Cruz amassed more than 1,500 yards in the regular season with a number of long touchdown catches from Manning.
And on the defensive side, the pass rush has been in full effect from standout defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who had 16.5 sacks on the season, along with veterans Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora.
The high-stakes matchup inspired a war of words between the teams.
Tuck called the Falcons offensive line 'dirtbags' earlier this month because of what he perceived as their cheap tactics such as unnecessary cut blocking, according to the Daily News.
But the Falcons didn't shy away from the moniker.
"If [Tuck] views us as cheap, so be it," said offensive lineman Will Svitek said, according to NFL.com. "Going to do what we do. You don't want to be viewed as soft."