In the lead-up to this game, the main areas of discussion were the the Giants offensive line and secondary who had major issues in previous weeks. This week was a different story. The o-line for New York only QB Eli Manning get hit once all night and the secondary, despite having issues at times, effectively shut down the Panthers receiving options while their dominant defensive line gave Panthers QB Cam newton no time to make plays.
It was a miserable night for Cam as he finished with a humbling 16/30 and three picks with his only consolation being a flying short yardage rushing touchdown in the third quarter. Speaking of rushing, Carolina’s running backs were held in check once again. With Jonathan Stewart unable to play due to an ankle injury, DeAngelo Williams failed to make an impact with 50 yards on 11 carries while being relatively ineffective overall. The one highlight for Carolina’s offense was tight end Greg Olsen who was able to beat the Giants up the middle multiple times, finishing with seven receptions for 98 yards.
By contrast, Eli Manning put on a master class in this game. He may have had better protection from his offensive line in this game but he also made the solid quick decisions he has become known for in recent years as he completed 27 of 35 pass attempts for 288 yards and a touchdown. While that touchdown was an early one to tight end Martellus Bennett, the star of the receivers was Ramses Barden who filled in admirably for Hakeem Nicks with nine receptions for 138 yards – catching as many balls tonight as he had all last season. Also breaking out in this game was replacement running back Andre Brown who, filling in for the injured Ahmad Bradshaw, was very impressive from start to finish. Brown had 20 carries on the night with 153 yards and two short touchdowns. On the anniversary of Victor Cruz’s emergence last year, it seems somehow appropriate to see Brown and Barden come out and make themselves known in this game.
With ten days to rest, the New York Giants continue their road trip next week for a division showdown at the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football while the Carolina Panthers will also go on the road to face a division rival as they travel to the feared Georgia Dome to face the Atlanta Falcons.