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Revived Defense Stops Giants In First Half


It's been said over and over, when the Falcons start fast, they win.

On Sunday against the world champs, the Falcons jumped out early, using big plays on offense and defense to take an early lead on the New York Giants. The first quarter of play was eerily similar to one of the best first quarters of play from the Falcons this season, Week 2's action against Denver and another Manning quarterback, Peyton.

Against the Giants, the Falcons intercepted Eli Manning's first pass of the game, an Asante Samuel takeaway that resulted in Michael Turner's ninth rushing touchdown of the season. On their first real drive of the game, their second possession in the first quarter, Matt Ryan efficiently drove the Falcons up the field, getting solid protection and used a 37-yard pass play to Harry Douglas to get into the redzone. A 12-yard pass to Tony Gonzalez finished off the drive and gave the Falcons a 14-0 first quarter lead.

Just as the first quarter wound down, the Falcons got another big play on defense. On a third-and-7, Kroy Biermann dropped Manning for his fourth sack of the season.

The big plays from Atlanta kept coming as the game crept toward halftime. Thomas DeCoud grabbed his fifth interception of the season. Matt Bryant connected on a 38-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 17-0 lead. The Falcons defense came up with two fourth-and-1 stops late in the fourth quarter to keep New York out of the end zone and off the scoreboard.

The Falcons gave up yards to the Giants offense, 198 in the first half, but stopped them every time when it really counted. The second fourth-down stop came with 1:14 remaining in the half with Samuel defending Victor Cruz on the incompletion inside the Atlanta red zone.

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