Eli Manning and the New York Giants picked apart the Atlanta Falcons in their playoff opener, cruising to a 24-2 victory in the NFC Wild Card round of the 2012 NFL Playoffs at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on Sunday afternoon.
Manning threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns on 23-of-32 passing for New York, which racked up 442 total yards (172 rushing, 270 passing). Hakeem Nicks collected 115 yards and two touchdowns on six catches and Brandon Jacobs rushed for 92 yards on 14 carries for New York.
Matt Ryan, a former start quarterback at Boston College, had 199 passing yards on 24-of-41 passing for Atlanta, which was held to 247 total yards. Julio Jones had seven catches for 64 yards and Michael Turner had 41 rushing yards.
The Falcons scored first, as former New England Patriots safety James Sanders forced Manning to intentionally ground the football in his own endzone, resulting in a safety and a 2-0 lead for Atlanta with 13:50 left in the first quarter.
Nicks caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Manning with 2:55 left in the opening quarter, capping off a 13-play, 85-yard drive that lasted 7:32 and gave the Giants a five-point advantage. Neither team scored again before halftime.
Lawrence Tynes connected on a 22-yard field goal with 7:55 left in the third quarter and Manning connected with Nicks for a 72-yard score with 2:58 to go in the third. Manning fired his final touchdown pass to Mario Manningham from 27 yards out with 10:04 left in the fourth quarter, bringing the scoring to a close.
New York faces the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers, next weekend in the NFC Divisional Round.
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