The recently acquired kicker successfully connected on field goal attempts of 40, 50 and 56 yards on Monday night, as the Falcons defeated the New York Giants, 23-20.
The Falcons also received a big boost from their defensive front seven, who were able to hold the Giants to 61 total rushing yards. The Giants’ star running back, Saquon Barkley, managed only 43 rushing yards for the game. Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan applauded the defense’s efforts as a crucial component to Monday night’s win.
“I thought they kept us in it,” Ryan said. “They kinda kept us in the driver’s seat the entire night with their play, their aggressiveness. I thought they tackled really well, (and) got after the passer. So, I’m proud of them. They’ve been working really hard, and they played really well tonight.”
The Falcons’ offense did not have the explosive start that has been customary this season. Atlanta’s first three drives all resulted in punts.
However, late in the second quarter, the offense picked it up. Tight end Austin Hooper snared a Ryan pass deep downfield for a 36-yard gain to the Giants’ 47. On the next play, receiver Marvin Hall caught a 47-yard touchdown pass to put the Falcons on the board, 7-0.
The Giants and Falcons both converted field goals late in the second quarter; at halftime, the Falcons led, 10-3.
The Falcons’ defense started the second half with a strong goal line stance. After Barkley’s run from the one-yard line went for no gain, the Giants attempted another play on fourth down. However, Eli Manning’s pass to tight end Scott Simonson fell incomplete.
After a Falcons’ fumble and Giants field goal, Ryan again connected on a deep pass downfield. This time, he connected with running back Tevin Coleman for a 32-yard pickup. This set up Tavecchio’s second made field goal, a 50-yarder that increased the Falcons’ lead, 13-6.
The next time Coleman touched the ball was on a rush attempt from the Giants’ 30, which he took untouched to the end zone.
The Giants’ next drive left many scratching their heads. After two huge catches by Odell Beckham Jr., Barkley found the end zone on a two-yard run. This made the score 20-12; a successful extra point would bring the G-Men within seven. However, Giants’ head coach Pat Shurmur elected to go for two. Beckham dropped the Manning pass, and with 4:47 remaining in the game, New York still trailed by eight.
The Falcons’ next drive fizzled at the New York 38. Despite having Tavecchio on the roster for only six days, head coach Dan Quinn elected to kick a 56-yard field goal. The field goal attempt was good, and put the Falcons up, 23-12. The 56-yard kick was the longest by any player in his first game with a new team in the last 40 seasons.
The Giants managed to score another touchdown, but ultimately lost their sixth game of the season, 23-20.
Matt Ryan completed 31 of 39 passes for 379 yards and a touchdown. Julio Jones caught nine passes for 104 yards. Also, in his return from an ankle injury, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett tallied six tackles, including two for loss.
The Falcons have a bye this week. The team travels to Washington D.C. on Nov. 4 to take on the Redskins. Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m.