Bobby Petrino must be wondering why he left that offensive powerhouse at Louisville.
The first-year Atlanta coach watched his team put on another putrid display with the football Monday night, going scoreless over the final 49 minutes in a 31-10 loss to the surging New York Giants.
Eli Manning passed for 303 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Giants to their fourth straight win, while the Falcons lost for the fifth time in six games, this defeat looking much like the others.
An ineffective passing game. A bogged-down running attack. A banged-up line that had little chance against Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan Co.
"It's frustrating," said tight end Alge Crumpler, who ripped Petrino's play-calling the previous week. "The bottom line is we've got to find ways to score and we've got to find ways to win games."
The Giants (4-2) took control after a wild first quarter in which the teams combined for 24 points. New York scored the final 24 points and held the ball for nearly 40 minutes against the Falcons, who sure could use Michael Vick.
"They are a good defensive football team," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin, trying to sound diplomatic. "They have some problems, obviously, on the offensive side of the ball."
Petrino put together one of the nation's highest-scoring teams as a college coach, but he doesn't have much to work with in his first NFL head coaching job. Vick is suspended indefinitely after pleading guilty to dogfighting charges, and the Falcons had to start two new offensive tackles against the Giants because of injuries.
"I'm frustrated, everybody's frustrated," Petrino said. "We've just got to keep working at it. Eventually, it's going to turn."
There there's the Giants, who are on a different kind of roll. Manning was 27-of-39 and put up his highest total since a 312-yard performance against the Cowboys in Week 1, which lessened the damage of two interceptions and a fumble.
He hooked up with Amani Toomer on a 5-yard scoring pass in the back-and-forth opening period. Before the half was done, Manning went deep for a 43-yard touchdown to Plaxico Burress that gave the Giants a 21-10 lead; Burress turned to the crowd and bowed after getting wide open down the middle.
"I felt good throwing the ball," said Manning, who completed 12 straight during one stretch in the first half. "I was spreading the ball around to all receivers."
Playing behind the patched-together line, Falcons quarterback Joey Harrington was sacked four times, had several passes deflected at the line and did plenty of scrambling to avoid New York's fearsome pass rush, which had tied a league record with 12 sacks of Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb two weeks earlier.
"We started off fine," Harrington said. "Then it seemed as if we hit a wall in the second quarter."
After yanking Harrington the previous week in favor of ron Leftwich, the Falcons didn't have a backup plan against the Giants. Leftwich, who signed with Atlanta after Week 2, was designated as the third quarterback after missing two practices because of a sore ankle, and backup Chris Redman has not played in a game since 2003.
"ron probably could have gone in there and played," Petrino said. "We decided to stick with Joey and see what he could do."
Not much. Harrington was 18-of-39 for 209 yards, putting him in danger of losing another starting job after he was already deposed in Detroit and Miami. The Falcons were totally inept after their quick start, managing 159 yards and nine first downs over the final three quarters, most of them coming after the Giants already had put the game away.
The Falcons did start quickly, jumping ahead on Morten Andersen's 47-yard field and reclaiming a 10-7 lead when Jerious Norwood broke off 67-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage after Manning's TD pass to Toomer.
New York bounced back to take the lead for good before the quarter was done. Brandon Jacobs broke off a 20-yard run and Manning completed three passes for 56 yards, the last of them a 17-yarder that Toomer gathered in at the — and managed to drag both toes along the turf before tumbling out of bounds.
Reuben Droughns powered over on the next play. The Giants were up 14-10 and on their way.
Toomer became the leading receiver in Giants history with his 587th career reception, breaking Tiki Barber's records, and tied Kyle Rote's club mark with 48 TD catches.
Notes: The Giants became just the third team in NFL history with 600 regular-season wins. They are 600-502-33 in franchise history, following Chicago and Green Bay. ... Atlanta reached 100 yards rushing for the first time this season, finishing with 103 largely because of Norwood's big run. Starter Warrick Dunn was held to 15 yards on eight carries. ... Atlanta DT Rod Coleman played his first game of the season but wasn't much of a factor with three tackles.
Giants run over Falcons