A quick start to begin the day turned into an all-around statement from the Falcons in their 34-0 win over the New York Giants, the team that knocked the Falcons out of the playoffs last season on their way to a world championship.
Going into Sunday's game, the discussion around Giants-Falcons was about the New York defense, specifically the pass rush. In the rout of the world champs, the Falcons showed their defense isn't too bad either and Atlanta's offense took advantage of turnovers and key stops that were handed to them.
In search of a complete game since early in the season, the Falcons found it on Sunday, using a creative game plan on offense to move that ball to the tune of 395 yards of offense while keeping quarterback Matt Ryan clean and with enough time to connect with a variety of targets, eight in all.
The Falcons got big days from Julio Jones, Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez in the passing game, much-needed efforts since wide receiver Roddy White was slowed by a knee injury that kept him out of practice all week.
Jones gave the Falcons 99 yards of total offense with six catches, Gonzalez added six for 49 and Douglas had the biggest game of his season with three grabs for 83 yards.
The Falcons offensive line kept Ryan clean and gave him the necessary time to connect with all those targets, giving up only one sack to one of the best pass-rushing front lines in the NFL.
And Atlanta's defense, at least for one day, trumped the opponent's highly publicized D. While the Falcons allowed yardage to New York, they kept them out of the endzone, the first time Eli Manning's been shut out in the regular season in his career. Sunday's shutout was also the first time the Giants have been shutout in the regular season since 1996.
The Falcons held New York to a 40 percent third-down conversion rate and stopped them on three fourth-down opportunities.
Kroy Biermann led the Falcons with one sack and John Abraham forced a fumble. The Falcons defense, led by Asante Samuel and Thomas DeCoud, picked off Manning twice in the first half.