Leonard Hankerson introduces himself into the Falcons’ WR mix

On a day when wide receiver Roddy White was held without a catch and Devin Hester was inactive, the Falcons needed someone to complement high-flying Julio Jones. Leonard Hankerson did.

Hankerson, signed as a free agent last offseason after an undistinguished career with Washington, made six catches for 77 yards and one touchdown in helping the Falcons rally from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun the New York Giants, 24-20, on Sunday.

“Any time you can make plays for the team, it feels good,” Hankerson said in his soft-spoken way.

He appeared in 31 games and made 17 starts during his four years in Washington, trying to find his way as that team often sought to find its way. His best season came in 2012, when he established career highs with 38 receptions and 543 yards.

“I do my job,” he said. “Whether it’s on the practice field or off the field, I continue to do my job.”

Few catches loomed larger than the touchdown grab he made from 10 yards out to cap a 12-play, 91-yard drive that allowed the Falcons to slash the Giants’ lead to 20-17 with 12:39 remaining. It was among the highlights for quarterback Matt Ryan as he shredded the Giants’ defense, converting 30 of 46 pass attempts for 363 yards and the lone scoring pass to Hankerson.

“Any time you are going to throw the ball 40 or more times, you’ve got to distribute it,” said Ryan, adding, “I’m really happy for Hank. He’s worked really hard coming in here.”

After suffering through an awful season in Washington last year, Hankerson is amped to be with the 2-0 Falcons.

“We have a heck of a team,” he said. “We can all make plays.”

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