There is a lot of praise to go around among the New York Giants following their 24-2 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday's NFC Wild-Card Palyoff game. Eli Manning went 23-for-32 passing for 277 yards and three touchdowns, while Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs led the way for 172 yards rushing. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin saved his highest praise for his team's defensive effort, however.
"I think today we played outstanding defense and that set the tone for everything else that happened in the game," Coughlin said. "It was wonderful to see it and it has happened over the last two or three weeks of the season. If we can continue to play defense like that, we can make ourselves heard in this tournament."
The defensive line in particular continued to play stellar football. They harassed quarterback Matt Ryan throughout the game, and held the Falcons running game to just 64 total yards on the day. The front four also came up with two of the biggest plays of the day, stuffing Atlanta twice on what could have been game-changing fourth-and-ones.
"The two fourth down stops were just outstanding and both were in the shadow of the goal line as well," Coughlin said. "That really inspired everybody, to be honest with you. Those plays that our defense made really inspired everybody."
Up next for the Giants will be Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The Giants lost the regular season meeting between the two teams, 38-35, early in December. The defensive line played well in the loss, however, recording two sacks and holding the Packers to 89 yards rushing with Osi Umenyiora out of the lineup.