The Atlanta Falcons, competing on the road in the Meadowlands on this wild card weekend, are off to a very strong defensive start against the Giants. So strong, in fact, that the New York offense has only managed one first down during the entire first quarter.
Despite the defense missing one Brent Grimes, who was declared inactive before the start of today's game, the Falcons coverage has held up spectacularly throughout the first 15 minutes of play. In fact, neither Victor Cruz nor Hakeem Nicks have recorded a single catch yet. By taking away the deep ball, Eli Manning has been forced to settle for short throws to the likes of Jake Ballard and D.J. Ware.
Both Curtis Lofton and Sean Weatherspoon have done an excellent job covering those short finesse passes thus far, as well as shutting the Giants down on the ground. In addition, John Abraham has managed to get some good pressure and already has one sack on the day.
The Falcons offense, however, has not managed to get anything going until the waning minutes of this first quarter. After going three-and-out twice, Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones on a 20 yard pass over the middle, and things just got going from there. Couple that with some good runs by Michael Turner, and the Falcons were in business at the Giants 30.
But on fourth-and-inches, Mike Smith elected to go for it and Ryan's QB sneak came up literally inches short. With the Falcons in field goal range, you have to question the decision to go for it in that situation. With that, this game remains at a scoreless tie.