On the second play of the game, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning attempted to hit Hakeem Nicks on a short pass. In the way stepped Asante Samuel. who returned the ball to the Giants' 16-yard line. Four subsequent runs by Michael Turner gave the Atlanta Falcons a 7-0 lead and the hammer was dropped.
The Giants were dominated physically, mentally and emotionally in a 34-0 drubbing in Atlanta, their worst performance of a season slowly slipping away and the worst shutout loss by a defending champion in NFL history, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
For good measure, each time the Giants gambled, they lost and lost big, going 0-for-3 on fourth down.
"Atlanta was very, very good. We were very, very bad," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. "There's no excuse for what happened here."
And there's every reason why this edition's Studs are Dirty Birds and Duds are Little Blue.
Matt Ryan: Finished 23 of 28 for 270 yards and three touchdowns. This season, Ryan has thrown for 4,202 yards and 27 touchdowns to break his own franchise records for completions and passing yards.
Julio Jones: Caught six passes for 74 yards including a 40-yarder that torched the Giants secondary for a score.
Tony Gonzalez: It's not so much his six grabs for 49 yards, it's the mere presence of this ageless star and future Hall of Famer. Ronnie Lott would have had no chance defending his 12-yard TD reception in the second quarter.
Eli Manning: Finished 13 of 25 for 161 yards and a dismal 38.9 rating -- his worst since a Dec. 23, 2007 win at Buffalo. There is a trace of good news, Giants fans. Manning passed Phil Simms for the most completions in franchise history with 2,585.
David Wilson: Take away a 25-yard run and Wilson flamed out in his first career NFL start.
Giants Front Four: The supposed strength of the team, the invisible men in blue and white managed not one sack of Ryan and was barely heard from all game.
Lawrence Tynes: Missed a 30-yard chip shot and has missed one field goal in each of his last three games.
This game was over once Manning was picked off on the second play.
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