On his first pass attempt of the afternoon, Giants quarterback Eli Manning forced an inside ball to wideout Hakeem Nicks. Jumped by veteran cornerback Asante Samuel, the Atlanta Falcons came away with an early turnover, eliciting deafening roars from the Georgia Dome.
In a "statement game," both sides seemed to have already spoken.
With two teams jockeying for NFC supremacy, the Falcons pushed ahead from the get-go. Quarterback Matt Ryan tossed three touchdown passes, two to receiver Julio Jones, while the Giants offense failed to crack the scoreboard, falling on the wrong side of a 34-0 thumping.
It was a rough outing for New York. Check out a post-game breakdown of all the action with final report card grades for key Giants.
Eli Manning: D
There's no way around it: Manning was flat-out awful Sunday.
Eli overthrew his receivers, forced his reads, and failed to stretch the field after two early interceptions. Manning failed to establish connections with top targets Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, and looked flustered in the pocket.
Manning posted a paltry 40.7 quarterback rating, tallying his fourth game without a touchdown pass in 2012. Eli saw two of his passes batted down at the line, and wasn't able to take command of an average Falcons secondary.
Henry Hynoksi: A-
The "Hynocerous" had another strong game, opening a few holes for Wilson and Lumpkin along the edge.
David Wilson: B
In his first career start, Wilson churned out a 4.6 yards-per-carry average, maxing out on a 25-yard burst in the first half.
Still, he failed to find open field beyond the Giants' first few possessions, and was soon split with newly-signed tailback Kregg Lumpkin. Wilson still touts blazing speed, but seems to have a bit of trouble cutting between the guards.
Kregg Lumpkin: B
Lumpkin saw his first 40 rushing yards come on three carries, giving the Giants a temporary momentum swing. In the second half, however, Lumpkin sputtered, and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter.
Domenik Hixon: A-
Hixon stepped up amid New York's offensive debacle, leading the Giants with 80 receiving yards. Hixon shed a few open-field tacklers and got open on third downs. Without production from New York's leading wideouts, he gets credit here.
Hakeem Nicks: D
Nicks vanished yet again Sunday, hauling in just three catches on seven targets. Nicks struggled to get open, although the one time he created separation downfield, he was overthrown by Manning.
Victor Cruz: D-
Cruz took a vicious hit to the head from Atlanta safety Chris Hope, and finished the game with a season-low 15 receiving yards. Cruz and Manning looked out of sync all afternoon.
Martellus Bennett: C-
Bennett paved the way for two of David Wilson's first downs, but he also came away with just one reception for 15 yards. Against an aggressive Atlanta front seven, many were expected Bennett to break out in this one.
Chris Snee: A-
Snee gets some serious points here after sustaining a hip injury tussling with Falcons end John Abrahams. He returned to the game and played well, especially in run blocking.
Jim Cordle: B+
Cordle filled in admirably for Snee while he was sidelined. The Giants are a tackle-to-tackle running team, but Cordle didn't allow the pocket to break during his reps.
David Baas: C+
Baas was bowled over a few times, but didn't allow a sack.
Kevin Boothe: C-
Boothe was beat on multiple third-and-short runs in the second and third quarters. While he didn't allow a sack, his run blocking in this one was suspect at best.
Will Beatty: C-
Beatty allowed the pocket to crash too often, although he pulled nicely on some outside runs.
David Diehl: D-
Diehl was burned on the third-down pass that culminated in Lawrence Tynes' missed field goal, and was also charged with Kroy Bierrman's sack of Eli Manning.
Chris Canty: A
Canty did a good job stuffing the middle on running back Michael Turner, and came away with New York's lone sack of the afternoon.
Rocky Bernard: A-
Bernard made three tackles, and recovered nicely on a goal-line run by Turner, stopping him at New York's 1-yard line.
Osi Umenyiora: B-
Osi got a few good breaks on the line of scrimmage, and finished with a team-high two quarterback hits. He made the most impact out of New York's three standout ends.
Linval Joseph: C
Joseph's spectacular 2012 was put on hold Sunday, as he was bowled over on inside runs and made just two tackles.
Justin Tuck: D-
Tuck made no real impact Sunday, and his name wasn't even called on the stat sheet until the third quarter.
Jason Pierre-Paul: D-
An off performance from the Pro Bowl end, who failed to hit Matt Ryan or make a noticable stop in run defense.
Chase Blackburn: A-
Blackburn was one of few positives for this Giants defense Sunday. He notched seven tackles and broke up a third-down pass intended for tight end Tony Gonzalez.
Mathias Kiwanuka: D
Kiwanuka continues to look lost in space on run defense, and was a non-factor in blitz packages.
Michael Boley: D-
One of Boley's few rough games this season, the agile linebacker recorded a season-low three tackles and struggled immensely when lined up against Gonzalez. Him and safety Antrel Rolle looked off in pass coverage Sunday.
Will Hill: A+
Hill looked sharp filling in for injured safety Kenny Phillips, and lead the Giants with nine tackles.
Stevie Brown: B
Brown looked good against the run, crashing the front seven on a few plays, but failed to make an impact covering Harry Douglas or Tony Gonzalez. He finished with eight stops.
Corey Webster: D+
Webster did a solid job blanketing top wideout Roddy White, but was beat badly on Julio Jones' first touchdown grab. It's been a long season for the veteran d-back.
Antrel Rolle: D-
Rolle lost Harry Douglas on a few big receptions, and made just one tackle.
Jayron Hosley: D-
Hosley was torched on Jones' second touchdown in the fourth quarter, and was picked on along the outside all afternoon. Admittedly, Hosley was forced into a starting spot with Prince Amukamara shelved, but this was still discouraging from the rookie corner.
Steve Weatherford: A+
Weatherford booted a 58-yarder, and averaged a healthy 55 yards on punts. Still, with the Giants going for it on fourth down throughout the second half, he was rarely used.
David Wilson: D
Wilson had to deal with Matt Bosher's deep kickoffs, and failed to make an impact in the return game. A week after his franchise record-setting return effort, Wilson didn't bring a kickoff past the 30 yard-line.
Lawrence Tynes: D-
Tynes drilled a few kickoff touchbacks, but shanked his only field goal attempt of the game wide left. It's Tynes' second bad miss in two weeks.
Overall Game Grade: D-
What more can you say here?
This was a bad loss any way you slice it. The Giants' defense was woefully unprepared for Atlanta's physical offensive line, and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride was far too conservative on third-and-short play-calls.