Steve Spagnuolo's new defense closely resembled last season's unit on Carolina's first drive. The Panthers marched 81 yards in 13 plays en route to a 7-0 lead. Especially unimpressive on defense during the drive were Sam Madison, who was beaten by Steve Smith for a five-yard touchdown and also missed a tackle, Marcus Bell, who left glaring holes open in the middle, and Mathias Kiwanuka, who is obviously feeling his way at linebacker early on.
Derrick Ward, who was back as New York's top primary kickoff returner, took his second opportunity back 67 yards, setting up a seven-yard scoring connection between Manning and Jeremy Shockey.
Ward then capped a nice Jared Lorenzen-engineered drive with a five-yard TD run to give New York a 14-10 lead. But the Panthers responded with a late TD for a 17-14 halftime cushion.
Eli Manning finished his evening by completing three-of-five passes for 27 yards and a TD…
Fullback Robert Douglas showed his versatility by forcing a fumble on special teams in opening quarter…
Will Demps, who was demoted to second-team, had a good second quarter, posting three tackles, including a 13-yard sack of David Carr…
The following Giants didn't play in the preseason opener: WRs Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress; CBs Aaron Ross, E.J. Underwood and Travonti Johnson; DT Fred Robbins, LB Gerris Wilkinson, S Michael Stone, LS Ryan Kuehl and G Todd Londot.
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