Originally created 11/22/04

Vick leads Falcons past Giants



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The day belonged to Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons. The New York Giants have every right to believe the future belongs to Eli Manning.

Vick ran for 104 yards and threw two first-half touchdown passes to Alge Crumpler to lead the Falcons to a 14-10 win over the Giants on Sunday, spoiling Manning's first start.

After a shaky first half, Manning showed why the Giants (5-5) mortgaged their future on draft day. He led New York on two second-half drives that turned a one-sided game into a thriller.

A 6-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey got New York within 14-7 in the third quarter and another long drive set up a 24-yard field goal by Steve Christie with 6:29 to play.

Manning, the brother of NFL co-MVP Peyton Manning, had one final shot to stage a remarkable comeback after the Giants took over at their 25 with 1:52 to play. A pass to Shockey and a 13-yard run by Tiki Barber got the Giants into Atlanta territory, but linebacker Keith Brooking broke up a fourth-down pass to seal the Falcons' (8-2) third straight win.

The loss was the third straight for New York and its fourth in five games.

Manning, the top overall pick acquired from San Diego in a trade during the draft, completed 17 of 37 passes for 162 yards and two interceptions in place of Kurt Warner, who was benched Monday. The second interception hurt, with Brady Smith picking off a pass at the Falcons 28 late in the third quarter.

The much-hyped game matched two former No. 1 draft picks; the Falcons took Vick in 2001 after trading for the No. 1 pick.

Each excelled for a half. Vick did his damage in the opening half, finishing the game 12-of-20 for 115 yards. He also carried 15 times for his third 100-yard rushing game this season and fifth overall, a league mark.

Manning thrilled the Giants in the second half, and nearly found a way to pull out a game that seemed lost.

The Giants might have fared better had referee Jeff Triplette not called a roughing-the-passer penalty against Carlos Emmons with about 5 minutes left. Instead of punting from their 9, the Falcons moved the ball before punting and the Giants took it at their 25.

Vick was dazzling in the first half. He drove the Falcons 84 yards in 11 plays on their opening possession. The drive was all Vick as he carried four times for 53 yards and completed 3 of 4 passes for 24 more, capping the drive with a 6-yard pass to Crumpler on third down.

Vick was so fast and quick, he had all day to throw and lots of open space to run.

Two series later, Vick used his arm on a 12-play, 74-yard drive to stretch the lead to 14-0. A 14-yard third-down toss to fullback Justin Griffith and passes of 21 yards to Crumpler and 16 to Dez White set up a 2-yard TD lob to a wide-open Crumpler.

Vick accounted for 194 of the Falcons' 233 first-half yards, running 10 times for 91 yards and passing for 103.

The Giants gained 84 yards in the opening half, and they were lucky to be trailing by only 14 points.

With 16 seconds left in the half, the Giants took over at their 26 following a punt. Instead of taking a knee, a pass play was sent in and Jason Webster intercepted and returned to the New York 28 with :07 to go.

Jay Feely let Giants coach Tom Coughlin off the hook by missing a 47-yard field goal on the next play.