Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sports

New York Giants look more like a team in easy 24-2 win over Atlanta Falcons

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — All the missing pieces — defense and a running game — are aligning at the right time for Eli Manning and the Giants. And just in time to play the Packers.

After routing the Falcons 24-2 Sunday in an NFC wild-card game, New York heads to Green Bay this weekend, a place where it will need all the help it can get.

Manning carried the Giants for much of the season, hoping the defense would get stingy, the pass rush would materialize and the running game would get on track. Now, all that is happening.

"A great mix of run and pass and these guys have a great understanding of what our offense is," the quarterback said. "If we can get that run game going like we did in the second half, that opens up a lot of windows."

And if the defense remains impenetrable, watch out.

"If we can play defense like that, we will continue to make ourselves heard in this tournament," coach Tom Coughlin said.

Manning punctuated his best season by throwing for three touchdowns and scrambling for a 14-yard gain that woke up New York's offense in its first postseason victory since its Super Bowl upset of New England four years ago. Next is the defending champion Packers, who won here 38-35 in December.

"We know they are a good team," Manning said. "We played them tough here, did some good things here, we scored some points. We know offensively we are going to have to play strong, score some points."

The team that couldn't run the ball will be sprinting there, bringing along a defense the Packers actually might fear. Not to mention the passing offense led by Manning, who hooked up on a 72-yard catch and run by Hakeem Nicks in the third quarter that put away the Falcons.

The Giants' last postseason trip to frigid Lambeau Field was a 23-20 overtime victory for the NFC championship two weeks before they upset the Patriots.

"Cold, I remember that. I remember Coach Coughlin's face. I remember (tackle) David Diehl sweating and it froze on his hair, and he had icicles on his hair," defensive end Justin Tuck said. "And I remember us winning.

"Hopefully, we can go back there and do it again."

The tempo in the first playoff game at MetLife Stadium was set by New York's defense and the league's lowest-ranked rushing game, which had a season-high 172 yards. The Giants averaged 5.5 yards a carry, 2 more than in the regular season.

Meanwhile, the defense held Michael Turner to 41 yards on 15 carries. Osi Umenyiora sacked Matt Ryan with just more than a minute left to provide a fitting coda, and the secondary held receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones to 116 yards combined.

It's a unit that has a renewed swagger heading to Green Bay.

"We're not any slouches," Umenyiora said. "We're going to go out there and we're going to try to hit them in the mouth, and we'll see what happens."

Comments
Girls basketball region finals preview

Girls basketball region finals preview

All games at 7 p.m. FridayClass 8ANaples Gulf Coast (25-2) at Tampa Bay Tech (25-3): The Titans are coming off a 62-44 win over Countryside. They are clearly playing some good basketball at the right time. Junior Jalyn Spurlin scored 12 poi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
What if the Rays actually have a good plan?

What if the Rays actually have a good plan?

PORT CHARLOTTE — Going against popular opinion, here's an odd thought to ponder:What if the Rays actually know what they're doing?The deal agreed to Wednesday afternoon with veteran outfielder Carlos Gomez — one year for a hefty-for-them ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
New D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants to make Bucs pass rush great again

New D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants to make Bucs pass rush great again

This isn't the first time Brentson Buckner has wanted to get closer to the Bucs defensive line.As a defensive tackle for the Panthers, Buckner's team went 7-9 in 2002, the inaugural season for the NFC South.Tampa Bay won the division that year, and w...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hey Rays, this is no way to build a ballpark

Hey Rays, this is no way to build a ballpark

PORT CHARLOTTE — It was another morning after at Charlotte Sports Park and Rays Bargain Clearance Barn.  This time it's Steven Souza Jr., man of a thousand faces. He gone.What else is new at the incredible shrinking baseball team?It's spri...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Dick Vitale to Rays owner Stu Sternberg: Sell the team

Dick Vitale to Rays owner Stu Sternberg: Sell the team

PORT CHARLOTTE – Dick Vitale, the Rays' most visible and, as of late, vocal fan, took to Twitter and the 620-AM airwaves Wednesday morning and later in the day in a phone call to the Tampa Bay Times to blast his local baseball team.Vitale, ESPN...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Winter Olympics: Thursday’s viewing guide

Winter Olympics: Thursday’s viewing guide

TV today6:05 a.m.-5 a.m. Friday NBCSNCurling (M) — Semifinal, United States vs. Canada (LIVE)Short-track speed skating — Finals, men's 500m, women's 1,000m, men's 5,000m relayBiathlon (W) — 4x6k relay finalCurling (M) — Semifi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

When the Lightning put wing Ryan Callahan back on the power play a month ago, there were many reasons for the move.With Ondrej Palat suffering a lower-body injury Jan. 20, Tampa Bay needed a replacement who was fearless in front of the net and a rele...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBoxingFeatherweights: Diaz vs. Terrazas11:30 p.m.ESPN2College basketballWomen: Maryland at Michigan6 p.m.Big TenWomen: LSU at South Carolina6:30 p.m.SECConnecticut at Cincinnati7 p.m.ESPNWisconsin at Northwestern7 p.m.ESPN2Winthrop at NC-Ashevil...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Winter Olympics: U.S. women end speed-skating medal drought

Winter Olympics: U.S. women end speed-skating medal drought

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Mia Manganello crossed the finish line, glanced at the video board and yelled. She then grabbed hands with American teammates Heather Bergsma and Brittany Bowe, and the trio thrust their arms in the air. The Americans had re...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Winter Olympics: U.S. wins first gold medal in women’s cross-country skiing

Winter Olympics: U.S. wins first gold medal in women’s cross-country skiing

DAEGWALLYEONG, South Korea — The unattainable had become inevitable, and Kikkan Randall started screaming at the top of her lungs. She was standing under the lights, at the finish line of Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Center, imploring her team sprin...
Updated: 4 hours ago