EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — After three games and a lot of ugly football, Arthur Smith finally picked up his first win as an NFL coach and his first game ball, courtesy of Matt Ryan.
As far as celebratory dancing in the Atlanta Falcons' locker room after their last-second 17-14 win over the New York Giants on Sunday, Smith and team owner Arthur Blank declined to take part. There's more work to be done.
"Years from now you'll look back, but really it's about everybody in this organization. The credit goes to them, not to me," said Smith, the former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator. "Hopefully we'll get a lot more wins than just one."
Younghoe Koo kicked a 40-yard field goal as time expired, and Ryan threw two touchdown passes and led the winning drive as the Falcons (1-2) handed the Giants (0-3) their second straight loss on the final play.
"Having been around a long time and knowing it's tough to win in this league, the first time doing it as a head coach, that's a special moment," said Ryan, who is working with his fourth head coach since the Falcons drafted him third overall in 2008.
"Hopefully that's something he'll always remember, this game up here. That game ball is nice little thing to have to remind you of that. He was fired up."
Ryan finished 27-of-36 passing for 243 yards. On the winning drive, which started at the Atlanta 20 and burned the final 1:58 of game clock, he found first-year Falcons running back/receiver Cordarrelle Patterson for 28 yards and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts for 25. He also threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Olamide Zaccheaus late in the first half and added a 1-yarder to Lee Smith to tie the game with 4:13 to play.
New York lost on the same day the franchise retired the jersey of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and added his name to the Giants Ring of Honor at MetLife Stadium. Co-owner John Mara was booed by fans at the halftime ceremony with the team trailing 7-6, and the final kick set off more dissention.
New York took a 14-7 lead on Saquon Barkley's 1-yard dive and Daniel Jones' 2-point conversion run with 12:53 left in the game. It was Barkley's first touchdown since the 2019 season finale; he tore an ACL during the second game last season.
Ryan then took the Falcons 72 yards in 16 plays to tie it on a drive extended first when Giants cornerback Adoree' Jackson dropped an interception in the end zone and then by a penalty before the tying score.
The Giants got to their own 49 on the ensuing series, but a sack forced a punt that provided a chance to win to Atlanta, which allowed 40 points a game over the first two against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons also ended a seven-game losing streak that dated to last November.
"We battled, and when it was time, we stepped up and made the plays we had to make," Ryan said. "The last two drives were clutch and really good for us."
While losing hurts, Barkley believes in this team, which opened last season 0-5 under coach Joe Judge. The Giants have not been to the playoffs since the 2016 season.
"I told the guys that we have something special," he said after gaining 51 yards on 16 carries. "I don't know when it is going to happen, but we believe it will. We've got to believe in each other and believe in the scheme. And when it happens, we've got something special."
The Giants had two 73-yard drives that faltered late because of sack and a mishandled snap. Graham Gano kicked field goals of 25 and 31 yards for a 6-0 lead.