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Pro Football Week 6 | ATLANTA 34, N.Y. GIANTS 20

In Revenge Dept., Reeves Comes Out the Big Winner

October 12, 1998|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Dan Reeves not only got a measure of revenge against the New York Giants, the Atlanta Falcons also gave him a game ball for making them playoff contenders in less than two years.

Chris Chandler threw two touchdowns and ran for another and Antonio Edwards, one of a number of former Giants to make big plays, scored on an amazing two-yard fumble return Sunday night as the Falcons defeated New York, 34-20, in Reeves' first game against the team that fired him in 1996.

The Falcons (4-1) are off to their best start since 1995, when they last made the playoffs, and are tied for first place with San Francisco in the NFC West.

"To say that it doesn't mean something, I would be lying," Reeves said. "Was it a big big factor? No! Like I said many times, it isn't going to change anything. I'm not not going to get my job back, I'm still fired.

"None of those things are going to change," he added. "The biggest satisfaction, and I don't care what anyone says, is that we are 4-1 and we beat a team that's won some games. Now they can't say we beat a team that hasn't won some games."

Reeves comment came just moments after defensive end Chuck Smith gave him the game ball, prompting a roar from the players.

"The fans here were real rude and rowdy toward him and saying some bad stuff today, but he was excited to play the game today and show the people of New York he is a good coach," Smith said. "He did his best here and it didn't work out, but he wanted to come in here tonight and win."

Edwards' big play helped. It came early in the second quarter with Atlanta leading, 7-6. The defensive end beat two blockers from the New York 15, chased quarterback Danny Kanell near the goal line and tipped the ball out of his hands, catching it and scoring.

The Falcons took control in the second half as the Giants (2-4) lost their second straight.

The Falcons gained 381 total yards, limited New York to 266 and had the ball almost 10 minutes longer.

Reeves led the Giants to the playoffs in his first season, 1993, but was run out of town three years later after arguing with management over the way the organization did things.

The Falcons hired Reeves immediately and he has done a remarkable job in turning around Atlanta, winner of 10 of its last 13 games.

Leading 14-13 at halftime, the Falcons scored on four of their first five second-half possessions to empty out Giants Stadium.

Things got so out of hand, Reeves sent in Steve DeBerg, an assistant coach on his staff here, to mop up for Chandler, who went 14 for 27 for 266 yards, after he bruised an elbow.

"Everybody sensed this game meant more but he did not verbalize it," DeBerg said. "To be honest, he didn't do anything different than the week before and what he has done the whole season."

Chandler passed to Terance Mathis for a 24-yard gain to set up Morten Andersen's 26-yard field goal for a 17-13 lead in the third quarter.

After the Giants went three-and-out, Chandler moved the Falcons 79 yards in five plays. The score came on a 55-yard pass play to Mathis for a 24-13 lead.

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