Stat worth noting: The Giants coughed the ball up four times – two interceptions and two lost fumbles. The Panthers? Nada.
Stat worth noting II: On the rare instances the defense was able to hold Carolina for two plays it surely couldn't finish the job. The Panthers converted 10 of their 15 third-down opportunities.
Turning point: Even though they were down, 10-0, you fully expected the Giants to make their move when they took over the ball for the first time in the second quarter. But it clearly wasn't to be. Two Manning incompletions sandwiched a three-yard loss by Ahmad Bradshaw and New York was forced to punt. The Panthers then moved 51 yards in seven plays for a commanding 17-0 lead that they'd only extend even further.
Play to remember: When you only score one touchdown, you had better believe that's going to turn out to be the most memorable play. Steve Smith's two-yard catch in the left flat of the end zone in the final period gave New York its final Giants Stadium TD.
Plays to forget: The Giants looked to be on a lengthy game-opening scoring drive for the second consecutive week when Eli Manning hooked up with Steve Smith for a 26-yard TD. However, a penalty flag fluttered to the ground, and took the Giants' TD with it. Madison Hedgecock was called for holding. Three plays later, Manning converted a third-and-14 with a 16-yard pass to Mario Manningham, who fumbled the ball, ending New York's first drive in the worst possible way.
What went right
Steve Smith continued to stretch his franchise record reception mark. With seven receptions against Carolina, Smith now has 97 for the season and is obviously only three grabs away from becoming the first ever Giants receiver to reach triple-digits.
Ahmad Bradshaw was about the only offensive spark the Giants had in this one. Bradshaw sprinted for 53 yards on 11 carries and was able to make some plays despite a serious dearth of blocking help.
Many of the current Giants and coaches very well might have just been in their last home game with the Giants. It's very, very clear that this club needs some sort of shakeup, as leadership and discipline is sorely lacking.
Michael Boley continued to be just about the only player on defense worth a darn. He led New York with 11 tackles, including one for loss. He also seemed to take the defeat as difficultly as anyone in the locker room after the game.
What went wrong
The Giants couldn't run the ball and they couldn't stop Carolina's running attack. Despite the unseasonably warm weather, Giants football in December is all about the ground game – offensively and defensively. That surely wasn't the case in this one as Carolina rolled to 247 yards on the ground. The Giants, on the flip side, were only able to gain 60 rushing yards.
Jonathan Stewart was unbelievable in this contest, ripping off a 206-yard performance. He averaged 7.4 yards per carry and most of his yardage most certainly came after initial contact.
The Giants defense was helpless to take advantage of young, untested Carolina QB Matt Moore, who was cool under pressure in completing 15-of-20 passes and only being sacked once.
Long after this one had been decided Madison Hedgecock put the icing on the cake, dropping a sure TD on a fourth-and-one play with only minutes to play. Hedgecock is surely not going to sleep too well after this one.
0 – Games remaining in Giants Stadium history; number of Giants that showed up against the Panthers
1 – Number of rushing yards for Brandon Jacobs, on six carries
4 – Consecutive seasons the Giants had qualified for postseason play
"Very disappointing, obviously. Very, very poor performance by our team." – Giants Coach Tom Coughlin
"Any time you come here, for me, I have a lot of fond memories here. This place will always have a special meaning. It was important. I've got a lot of respect for the ownership here and the people here. So every time I come back here it means a little bit extra for me." – Panthers Coach John Fox
Game Story: Giants 9, Panthers 41
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