Matt Ryan threw a 54-yard pass to Julio Jones to set up a one-yard touchdown by Devonta Freeman with 1:22 left to spoil the Giants home opener and productive days for Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.
Atlanta (2-0) trailed 20-10 entering the fourth quarter before scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns, as Dallas did in Week 1 to beat the Giants. Ryan was 30-for-46 for 364 yards and a touchdown.
The first touchdown came after Manning fumbled at the Atlanta 8 with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter when the Falcons' Kroy Biermann hit him from behind. The Falcons then drove 91 yards for a TD to cut it to 20-17, scoring on Ryan's 10-yard pass to Leonard Hankerson.
Manning (27-for-39, 292 yards, two touchdowns) became the 15th quarterback to throw for more than 40,000 yards and Beckham (seven catches, 146 yards) set records for most catches (105) and receiving yards (1,495) for a player with 14 career games.
But Beckham was held to one catch after halftime (with 12:52 left in the third quarter).
Tevin Coleman, who later left with an injury, ran for a one-yard touchdown late in the first quarter to give Atlanta a 7-0 lead. The score capped off a 13-play, 86-yard drive.
The teams exchanged field goals in the second quarter before Manning's 75-yard touchdown pass to Beckham tied the score with 3:19 left in the half.
Josh Brown kicked his second field goal with 13 seconds left in the half to give the Giants a 13-10 halftime lead. Manning's career-best 23-yard scramble and tackle Ereck Flowers' sack-saving holding penalty kept the drive alive.
Cullen Jenkins recorded the Giants' first sack of the season in the second quarter.
Injuries: Dominque Rogers-Cromartie left in the first quarter with a concussion.
The Giants host the Redskins Thursday at MetLife Stadium (8:30 p.m., WCBS-TV, NFL Network).
I have been watching Giants football since the late '60s and I truthfully cannot recall a time when they had back-to-back frustrating losses such as these to start a season.
The Giants had their opponents dead and buried in both games, but could not finish. That, folks, is the earmark of a bad football team. The only problem is they aren’t that bad. They have players. Good ones, too.
The mystifying thing with this Giants team is that they are failing in big spots despite having a two-time Super Bowl MVP at QB, a coach who is 12th on the the all-time win list, a defensive coordinator that orchestrated one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, an offensive coordinator considered to be one of the brightest in the business and the best wide receiver to hit this league since the ball was round.
Many of the tenets of Tom Coughlin football were broken again this week, most notably to finish strong. The play calling got stale and peculiar late in the game. Beckham Jr., the unstoppable force, was targeted just once in the fourth quarter. Don’t tell me he was covered, because he can’t be covered.
WR Preston Parker, whom the Giants inexplicably kept instead of James Jones at cut time, is killing - repeat, killing - the Giants with drops in key situations. Are they going to keep feeding him the ball?
Isn’t that what Einstein said was the definition of insanity? Doing something over and over again and expecting a different result?
And Larry Donnell has got to catch that ball. He’s just got to. I'm running a little low on confidence when it comes to him these days.
People will tell me they saw a lot of good things out there. Yeah, so did I. But when you open your newspaper tomorrow, the Giants will be 0-2 in the standings. 0-2, matter how you get there, is still 0-2.
Now, here comes Washington, fresh off a convincing win over the powerful Rams. Suddenly this game on Thursday has become a must-watch around the country. People want to see if the Giants can blow it again. That is, if they can get a lead to blow this time.