Giants take down Falcons

Manning throws for three touchdowns, including 72-yarder to Nicks

Last Updated: 08/01/12 11:35pm

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The New York Giants recovered from a slow start to flatten the Atlanta Falcons 24-2 and earn their first play-off win at home since 2000.

Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes as the Giants set up a showdown with the Green Bay Packers, a team that beat them 38-35 during the regular season, in the next round of the post season.

"The defense played awesome and in the second half the offence finally got going. We ran the ball and started hitting some big plays."
Eli Manning Quotes of the week

After a scoreless first quarter, the Falcons actually took a 2-0 lead in the wild-card encounter when Manning, under pressure from James Sanders, was penalised for intentional grounding, resulting in a safety.

However that proved to be the only points Atlanta would put up, meaning for the second season in a row they fail to win a play-off game.

Their power running game was held to just 64 yards in total. Crucially, they were twice unable to convert quarterback sneaks by Matt Ryan on short fourth downs.

The Giants, in contrast, piled up 172 yards on the ground, Brandon Jacobs managing 92 of them. It was his 34-yard burst down the right that led to his team's opening touchdown, Manning hitting Hakeem Nicks to make it 7-2.

Clear daylight

A 22-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal made it an eight-point game midway through the third quarter and, after Atlanta failed on their second attempt at a fourth-down conversion, the Giants put clear daylight between the teams when Nicks took a short pass over the middle and went 72 yards to the end zone.

Wide receiver Nicks finished the day with six receptions for 115 yards and two scores

In case there was any doubt, the Giants sealed their place in the next round when a beautiful rainbow pass by Manning dropped perfectly into the stride of Mario Manningham for a 27-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

"That's a big win today," Manning - who completed 23 of his 32 pass attempts for 277 yards and three touchdowns - said afterwards.

"The defense played awesome and in the second half the offence finally got going. We ran the ball and started hitting some big plays."

The Giants' last post-season trip to Lambeau Field was a 23-20 overtime victory in the NFC Championship game back in 2007 - two weeks later they upset the New England Patriots to be crowned Super Bowl champions.

"They are a great team," Manning said of the Packers, who lost only once this season.

"We played them tough. We have to give it our all. The defense will have to continue to play well and we'll have to make some big plays."

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