EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—Brent Grimes’ voice was barely a whisper.
But no megaphone was needed to convey his disappointment.
“The big plays, they hurt us today.,” Grimes said Sunday after the Falcons’ 34-31 overtime loss to the Giants.
The Falcons (5-5) were repeatedly burned by what had been a struggling Giants’ (6-4) offense. Save for a first-quarter sack and an interception by Grimes, the Falcons were unable to pressure Eli Manning into mistakes. Manning and his receivers took full advantage of good pass protection and the NFL’s 28th ranked pass defense. The Giants’ quarterback completed 25-of-39 passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns in his best game of the season.
New York’s receivers (Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon) combined for 16 caches for 286 yards, an average of 17.87 yards per catch. Tight end Kevin Boss finished with five receptions for 76 yards and two touchdowns.
“We did spread the ball around a lot today,” said Nicks. “Everybody had an opportunity to make plays today.”
The Falcons’ pass defense has been a season-long talking point. Nothing happened in the Meadowlands to change that.
“We gave up a lot of passing yards. That’s very obvious," coach Mike Smith said. "Way too many passing yards and again. It’s team defense, it’s not just the secondary. We cannot give up those types of yards in the passing game and expect to have the success that we want to have.”
“The Giants came out with a great game plan," safety Eric Coleman said. "They executed well. Just give credit to them. They did a great job today."
The Giants’ vertical game was a particular issue. The Falcons, who had given up 42 plays of more than 20 yards, allowed the Giants’ seven of those plays, which led to 24 points, including Lawrence Tynes’ game-winning 36-yard field goal in overtime.
“No team can give up big plays like that and expect to win,” said Grimes.