EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Eli Manning and the New York Giants' offense bailed out their top-ranked defense.
Lawrence Tynes kicked a 36-yard field goal 3:54 into overtime to make up for an earlier miss and lead the Giants past the Atlanta Falcons 34-31 after the defense blew a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
Manning threw for a career-high 384 yards and three touchdown passes, including two to Kevin Boss, to help the Giants (6-4) snap a four-game skid coming off their bye week. New York also kept pace with NFC East-leading Dallas, which beat Washington to maintain a one-game division lead.
Manning set up Tynes' winner when he connected with Mario Manningham for a 29-yard pass to put the Giants at the 23.
It wasn't an easy win for the Giants, though, as the defense – without injured linebacker Antonio Pierce indefinitely – couldn't hold a 31-17 lead against Matt Ryan and the Falcons.
New York also lost running back Brandon Jacobs to an injured right leg late in the third quarter. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury, although he was on the sideline during the fourth quarter and overtime.
Ryan threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Eric Weems with 6:01 left in regulation, then found Tony Gonzalez for 11 yards with 28 seconds remaining to tie it.
Atlanta (5-5) has lost four of five after a 4-1 start. Ryan finished 26 of 46 for 268 yards and two touchdowns, while Gonzalez had eight catches for 82 yards and the score. Jason Snelling, filling in for the injured Michael Turner, had two touchdown runs.
With the win, the Giants became the first home team to win in the series since New York beat Atlanta in 1979. The visiting teams had won 12 straight in the series, and the Falcons gave it a good shot at making it 13 in a row.
Madison Hedgecock's 3-yard touchdown catch with 12:08 remaining made it 31-17, but the Falcons stormed back.
Ryan converted three third downs on a 12-play drive that was capped by Weems' touchdown catch.
New York had trouble again on the tying drive as the Giants allowed Ryan to convert two third-down passes – a 22-yard throw to Roddy White and a 6-yard toss to Gonzalez on third-and-3 from the 17. After an incompletion to Gonzalez, Ryan found the big tight end in the end zone for the score.
Snelling's 7-yard touchdown run 1:02 into the second quarter put Atlanta ahead 7-3. He started for Turner, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Atlanta's loss to Carolina last week. The Falcons were also without Jerious Norwood for the fifth straight game.
The Giants marched right back down the field, helped by a pretty 33-yard sideline catch by Manningham, but stalled after that at the Falcons 13. Tynes had a chance to make it a one-point game, but was wide left on a 31-yard attempt.
New York made up for it on its next possession with a 28-yard touchdown catch by Boss to put the Giants up 10-7 with just over 7 minutes left in the opening half.
On second-and-16 from the Giants 42, Manning hit a wide-open Hakeem Nicks along the left sideline for a 30-yard gain. The Giants went to the air again on the next play with a pass to Boss, who caught the ball around the 5, shoved Erik Coleman aside and scampered into the end zone.
The Falcons missed a chance to tie it when Jason Elam was wide left on a 35-yard attempt with 2:51 remaining before halftime.
New York's defense came up big just before halftime as Justin Tuck had a strip-sack of Ryan and Osi Umenyiora recovered the ball to give the Giants the ball at the Falcons 34. It took New York just six plays to get into the end zone, with Manning connecting with Boss from 4 yards out for the tight end's second score with 14 seconds left.
Atlanta came out in the second half clicking with an eight-play drive that was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Snelling.
Jacobs' 2-yard run on the Giants' next possession made it 24-14 with 8:36 left in the third quarter. Manning completed a 51-yard pass to Steve Smith on first down, and the Giants were helped a few plays later by consecutive penalties on Coy Wire and Chris Houston to put the ball on the 1.
Elam kicked a 25-yard field goal to make it 24-17 with just under 2 minutes left in the third quarter.