Atlanta at New York

Falcons, Reeves break skid; Giants, Fassel in dire straits

SportsLine.com wire reports
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Atlanta Falcons got Dan Reeves his 200th win on a day the New York Giants may have put coach Jim Fassel's job in jeopardy.

Warrick Dunn ran for 178 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown, and the Falcons snapped a seven-game losing streak by defeating the mistake-prone Giants 27-7 on Sunday.

"It's great," Reeves said after becoming the sixth NFL coach to reach the 200-win plateau (200-171-2). "But when you've lost seven in a row it was all about trying get them win No. 2.

"I'm toward the end of my career," Reeves said after the Falcons (2-7) won for the first time since the opening weekend of the season. "A lot of these guys are just starting. They need to win."

The Falcons' issued a release after the game saying Reeves was the seventh NFL coach to get 200 wins. Former Cleveland and Cincinnati coach Paul Brown was included on their list with 222 wins. Later, the NFL said it does not recognize 52 wins he had coaching in the old AAFC before the Browns joined the NFL.

The Giants (4-5) desperately needed the win to stay in the playoff hunt, but they didn't play like they did. They turned the ball over four times in ending their two-game winning streak while enraging their fans.

A chant of "Fire Fassel" echoed through Giants Stadium in the waning seconds of the third quarter with New York down 20-7.

"I can understand the fans being upset," Fassel said. "I am upset. I don't like it. I knew that was what I was going to get when I came here if I didn't do well."

The Falcons won because they ran for 216 yards and won the turnover battle.

"Everybody is happy for coach Reeves," Dunn said. "He's been through a lot."

In Atlanta, there also have been some calls for Reeves to be fired with the team on its longest losing streak since 1996. Falcons owner Arthur Blank issued a public apology after a loss to St. Louis on national television less than a month ago.

Dunn scored on a 45-yard run on the Falcons' first possession and had five carries for 38 yards in setting up Kurt Kittner's go-ahead 4-yard touchdown pass to Justin Griffith on Atlanta's opening possession in the second half.

T.J. Duckett scored on runs of 1 and 12 yards for the Falcons, still missing injured quarterback Michael Vick.

Dorsey Levens had a 2-yard second-quarter TD run for the Giants, who are now 1-4 at home.

"If you're not embarrassed by what we did today, you shouldn't be here," Giants defensive end Michael Strahan said. "I am embarrassed. I'm embarrassed by what we didn't do. I am embarrassed for us and embarrassed for the freakin' fans and for anybody sitting at home watching. I am embarrassed for people who aren't even Giants fans who had to watch because they couldn't get anyone else on the TV. It was freakin' horrible."

The Falcons defense, which was giving up an average of 418 yards, had three takeaways inside their own 22-yard line. That includes two fumbles lost by Giants halfback Tiki Barber, who ran for 120 yards and caught a team-high 10 passes for 38 more.

The last fumble came at the Falcons 5, when Bryan Scott recovered with 10:34 to play. Scott also had an interception in the end zone late in the first half, preventing the Giants from breaking a 7-7 tie.

Kittner, who was 9-of-23 for only 65 yards, led the Falcons on a 77-yard drive on their first possession of the second half. He kept the drive alive early, hitting Peerless Price with a 16-yard pass on third down.

Kittner put Atlanta ahead with a 4-yard pass to Griffith with 5:24 left in the quarter.

Tod McBride intercepted a pass by Kerry Collins (25-of-40 for 202) on the next series and returned the ball 25 yards to the 8-yard line. Duckett scored from 1 yard out on fourth down.

The Giants, who didn't have a turnover in winning their last two games, lost the ball twice in Atlanta territory in the first half.

Barber lost a fumble at the Falcons 22 in the final minute of the first quarter. Scott intercepted Collins in the end zone 17 seconds before halftime.

Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey left late in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. There was no immediate update on his condition after the game.

Notes

  • Dunn's 178 yards rushing was his second best as a pro. He had 210 vs. Dallas in 2000 while playing for Tampa Bay.
  • With 158 total yards, Barber now has 10,147 all purpose yards, the first Giant to pass the 10,000-yard mark. His 10 catches gave him a team record 397, two more than Joe Morrison's old mark.
  • Price had three catches for 37 yards, extending his streak of catching a pass to 59 straight games.
  • Giants WR Amani Toomer extended his pass catching streak to 76 games with four for 33 yards.
  • Giants CB Ralph Brown hurt his right shoulder and may be sidelined two to three weeks.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
 
 
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The Giants had a tough time getting a grip on Falcons back Warrick Dunn.
 
The Giants had a tough time getting a grip on Falcons back Warrick Dunn. (AP)
 

 

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QTR,
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Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDWarrick Dunn, 45 Yd run (Jay Feely kick is good), 11:27. Drive: 6 plays, 68 yards in 3:33.
2ND QUARTER
TDDorsey Levens, 2 Yd run (Brett Conway kick is good), 8:31. Drive: 10 plays, 72 yards in 4:48.
3RD QUARTER
TDJustin Griffith, 4 Yd pass from Kurt Kittner (Jay Feely kick is good), 5:24. Drive: 9 plays, 77 yards in 5:22.
TDT.J. Duckett, 1 Yd run (Jay Feely kick Failed), 2:54. Drive: 4 plays, 8 yards in 1:37.
4TH QUARTER
TDT.J. Duckett, 12 Yd run (Jay Feely kick is good), 2:16. Drive: 7 plays, 40 yards in 2:12.
Atlanta
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
K. Kittner9/236510
RushingATTYDSTDLG
W. Dunn25178145
T. Duckett733212
K. Kittner5505
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
P. Price337016
A. Crumpler221011
B. Finneran1505
J. Griffith2414
W. Dunn1-20-2
New York
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
K. Collins25/4020202
J. Palmer2/4900
RushingATTYDSTDLG
T. Barber16120027
D. Joyce1303
D. Levens2112
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
T. Carter456021
J. Shockey346028
T. Barber1038011
A. Toomer433015
I. Hilliard218010
M. Rivers21107
V. Shiancoe1707
D. Joyce1202
Complete Player Stats