The Atlanta Falcons were handed their two touchdowns courtesy of New York fumbles. Setting up Mick Luckhurst's field goal that beat the Giants in the final minute today, 16-14, wasn't as easy.
The NFL opener was turned around when Falcon safety Bob Glazebrook ran 91 yards to score with a ball bobbled by Leon Perry with the Giants on the brink of increasing a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter. Luckhurst then came through from 29 yards with 58 seconds to play.
Luckhurst -- whose try for a point after Glazebrook's score had been blocked by Lawrence Taylor, leaving the Giants up, 14-13 -- said, "I was standing on the sidelines and enjoying the winning drive," as he watched quarterback Steve Bartkowski move the Falcons from their 35 to the Giants' 12.
"I don't feel like I did anything spectacular because the team wins or loses with 45 guys. I'll just keep this as another good memory."
Atlanta took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter when defensive end Jeff Merrow recovered a New York fumble at the Giants' 13. On the next play, William Andrews darted for a touchdown.
The Giants had come back to lead, 14-7, until the ball got away from running back Perry and Glazebrook made his club-record return, untouched, with 11:36 to play.
Giants Coach Ray Perkins said his team "made enough mistakes to lose five games and we were lucky to be in it until the end. These guys are going to see these films so often they'll know it by heart. They can learn from this what a good team we could be."
The winning drive began after the Giants were forced to punt with 4:28 left. Bartkowski threw to Alfred Jackson for 17 yards, to Alfred Jenkins for 18 and to Junior Miller for 11 as the big plays of the advance that set it up for Luckhurst.
The Giants' subsequent possession ended on cornerback Kenny Johnson's interception of a desperate Scott Brunner pass at the Falcons' 22 on the final play of the game.
Brunner, completing 25 of 41 passes for a career-high 310 yards, found Earnest Gray for touchdowns from 33 yards in the second quarter and 19 yards early in the third.
A near-capacity crowd of 74,286 watched in Giants Stadium. The temperature on the field hit 99.