Back on the winning track
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Eli Manning and the New York Giants were just happy to celebrate a victory again. It had been six frustrating weeks, not that they were counting or anything.
"It's been a long time, 42 days since our last win," Manning said. "It felt like it, too."
Lawrence Tynes kicked a 36-yard field goal 3:54 into overtime to make up for an earlier miss and lead the Giants past the visiting Atlanta Falcons, 34-31.
The win snapped a four-game skid and came after the defense blew a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter.
"It's nice to win," coach Tom Coughlin said. "We were miserable around here for a month."
Manning threw for a career-high 384 yards and three touchdown passes, including two to Kevin Boss, as New York kept pace with NFC East-leading Dallas, which beat Washington to maintain a one-game division lead.
The Giants can't savor this one for long, though: They play at Denver on Thanksgiving.
"There are not many better feelings than in a locker room after a win," Manning said. "It was good to see the high-fives and the smiles, especially when you haven't had that feeling for a while."
Manning, who had his first 300-yard passing game at Giants Stadium, set up Tynes' winner when he connected with Mario Manningham for a 29-yard pass that put the Giants at the 23. New York hadn't won since beating Oakland, 44-7, on Oct. 11, but this one didn't come easily.
The Giants' defense -- without injured linebacker Antonio Pierce out indefinitely -- couldn't hold a 31-17 lead against Matt Ryan and the Falcons. "I am concerned," Coughlin said of his defense.
New York also lost running back Brandon Jacobs to an injured right leg late in the third quarter. Coughlin had no update on the injury, but Jacobs was on the sideline during the fourth quarter and overtime.
Ryan threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Eric Weems with 6:01 remaining in regulation, then found Tony Gonzalez for 11 yards with 28 seconds remaining to tie it.
"It's disappointing because we didn't come out with the outcome we wanted," Ryan said.
"We had a lot of great contributions and great efforts from a lot of guys in the second half to come back from 14 down. But with that said, there are no moral victories."
Atlanta (5-5) has lost four of five after a 4-1 start.
Ryan finished 26 of 46 for 268 yards and two touchdowns, while Gonzalez had eight catches for 82 yards and the score. Jason Snelling, filling in for the injured Michael Turner, had two touchdown runs.
With the win, the Giants became the first home team to win in the series since New York beat Atlanta in 1979. The visiting teams had won 12 in a row.
First Published November 23, 2009 12:00 am