The Atlanta Falcons had a 20-10 lead in the third quarter on the New York Giants.
But the Giants scored 20 unaswered points to take get the 30-20 victory.
The loss was Atlanta’s 10th loss on the road in the last 11 games. This season, they’re 0-3 on the road with a 2-3 overall record.
The Falcons’ last road victory in an outdoor stadium came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 25, 2012.
This much is painfully clear: the Falcons are a completely different (read: worse) team on the road.
With offensive line starters Joe Hawley and Lamar Holmes lost for the season and Justin Blalock missing the game with a back injury, there were questions about the unit heading into the game.
It was up to Gabe Carimi, Harland Gunn, and Peter Konz to protect Matt Ryan against a Giants defense that had nine sacks on the season.
While the patchwork line held up through the first half, the same couldn’t be said for the second half. The unit gave up what was essentially a game-ending fourth down sack after the Falcons opted to go for it from their own 29.
The Falcons’ offensive strategy was evidently to feed Julio Jones early and often. After the first half, the wide receiver had eight receptions for 88 yards. In the second half, however, Jones caught just three passes for 17 yards.
Jones’ running mate Roddy White didn’t provide much support on the other side of the field with only two catches for 26 yards.
It didn’t help matters that the Falcons offense went just 2 for 13 on third downs. Prior to the game, the Falcons were ranked second in the league in successful third down conversions.
To make matters worse, the offense scored a touchdown on just one of three trips to the red zone.
Osi Umenyiora, the former Giant, had the team’s only sack. Atlanta has four sacks on the season.
The Falcons will feel a lot more comfortable as they host the Chicago Bears in the Georgia Dome Sunday. Beyond that, the Falcons’ next four games are all away from home, including a “home” game against the Detroit Lions in London.
If the Falcons fail to get their road woes fixed, they’ll be out of playoff contention pretty quickly. They’ll have played six road games by Thanksgiving.
Robert Alford had arguably his worst game as a professional. He was routinely beaten – although Eli Manning couldn’t connect on every pass – and called for a few penalties.
On the bright side, Antone Smith did it again. The speed demon posing as an NFL running back caught a pass in the flat, broke an attempted tackle by Antrel Rolle, and scampered 74 yards for a touchdown. On the down side, he had only four touches, including zero after he scored.