With Luke Petitgout already out, Kareem McKenzie was the latest Giants OL to succumb to injury. McKenzie sprained his neck and was out of action during the game's second half. As a result, the Giants shifted Diehl outside to McKenzie's right tackle spot and inserted Rich Seubert at Diehl's vacated left guard spot. Even Grey Ruegamer got involved, as he was then called on to fill in for Seubert as an extra tight end/blocker.
Diehl's immediate task was no easy one. The first time he looked up from his right tackle stance he saw none other than perhaps the league's fiercest pass rusher, Julius Peppers.
"I've been in that position before," Diehl said. "I haven't taken a snap at right tackle since Kansas City (Dec. 17) last year. You never know how things are going to go."
Diehl seemed to hold up very well under the most extenuating of circumstances. Peppers had only two solo tackles and never really got close to Eli Manning under Diehl's watch.
"I feel like I did a good job," Diehl said. "I think I did pretty well. You just try to fight a guy like that. I just challenged myself to focus on my technique. The rest of the offense is counting on you to do your job. I'm an accountable guy. I'll do whatever it takes to help out the offense."
Diehl said it only took a few plays for him to acclimate himself to his new post.
"For me it's kind of like riding a bike," he said.
With a 20-yard run in the second quarter, Tiki Barber topped 10,000 career rushing yards. Barber, who finished the game with 112 yards on 20 carries, is the 21st player to reach five digits in rushing. Barber, obviously aware of the feat, tossed the ball to one of the Giants equipment guys after the record-breaking run.
"It's a great accomplishment. I feel great pride in it," Barber said. "I know my guys in front probably feel more proud of it. I've come a long way as a player and I'm excited and I'm happy but you have to win."
He's the man
Eli Manning put together back-to-back impressive outings for the first time since much earlier in the season. With three TDs and no picks, Manning has now gone two consecutive games without a completion to the opposition. Needless to say, his coach was very pleased.
"He's been very solid," Tom Coughlin said. "He's controlled and managed the game well. He got a ‘W.' (Against Dallas) he played well enough to win, but didn't get one."
"We were able to play smart on offense, no turnovers," Manning said.
Cornerback Kevin Dockery has had his share of ups and downs this season. They continued in Charlotte when Drew Carter victimized the rookie free agent from Mississippi State for a couple big plays early on. However, in the fourth quarter, Dockery read Chris Weinke well and picked off a pass that helped seal the deal for Big Blue.
"I was going to my zone and I just broke on the throw," he explained. "I knew I couldn't let those two plays discourage me."
R.W. McQuarters said New York's three-pick performance (Gibril Wilson had the other two) was a product of just following the gameplan.
"We felt like if we just did our jobs and not tried to do more than expected, we'd be okay," he said.
No longer unbeatable
This was the first time New York has ever beaten Carolina. The Giants are now 1-3 all-time against the Panthers. Big Blue previously lost regular season games in 1996 and 2003 and last year's playoff game. There is now only one club the Giants have never beaten. Counting disastrous Super Bowl XXXV, New York is 0-3 against the Baltimore Ravens.
By virtue of their win, the Giants kept pace in the NFC wild card race. Both the Eagles and Falcons won, leaving all three clubs at 7-6. The Panthers fell a game back, joining the Vikings as current outsiders looking in. At this point in the season, the Giants own the tiebreaker over both of those teams by virtue of previous wins in Philadelphia and Atlanta. The Giants and Eagles also have the exact same conference record (6-3). Needless to say, this Sunday's game against the Birds is a big one.
Here are the remaining schedules for New York's primary post-season competition. After visiting Giants Stadium this Sunday, the Eagles play at Dallas and host Atlanta. The Falcons host Dallas and Carolina before wrapping up their season in Philadelphia.
With Jay Feely's foot bothering him last week the Giants had a handful of kickers in for a look, a just in case type of deal. Three of the free agents were former Giants – Steve Christie, Jose Cortez and Travis Dorsch. However, Feely was able to go and kicked especially well. In addition to nailing both of his field goal tries, four of Feely's six kickoffs reached the end zone with two touchbacks.
The Giants only questionable player last week, CB Corey Webster, was unable to play due to turf toe. Yes, as we've previously written, Tiki Barber and Jason Bell are suiting up with broken bones and Webster is missing games with a sprained toe. We digress. Michael Strahan remained out of action with his sprained foot and Luke Petitgout also missed the Carolina contest with a broken leg. The rest of New York's inactives were healthy scratches: WR Michael Jennings, LB Tyson Smith, LB Chris Claiborne and newly-signed DT Titus Adams. Tim Hasselbeck was the club's emergency quarterback.
David the Real Diehl at RT
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