A pair of interceptions and a few other awful off-the-mark passes will be remembered more so than Eli Manning's 29 completions and 296 passing yards. Manning threw just an awful pass intended for Steve Smith that was intercepted by Panthers CB Richard Marshall in the second quarter.
Bottom line: He's been carrying the offense for weeks, but the weight finally forced Manning's back to collapse.
While Ahmad Bradshaw was mostly effective behind a patchwork offensive line, Brandon Jacobs had the worst game of his career. Due to the early hole he only received six carries, but he certainly did as little with them as possible, gaining only a total of one rushing yard. FB Madison Hedgecock was caught for a costly holding penalty in the first quarter, an infraction that negated a 26-yard TD catch by Steve Smith. New York then failed to score on that possession.
Bottom line: Because they fell into such an early hole, the Giants could never really get the running game going with any consistency.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Mario Manningham's first-quarter fumble that ended the Giants' first drive was clearly the costliest of Big Blue's four turnovers. Manningham made a clutch third-down reception, but was stripped by Panthers super-LB Jon Beason and New York never recovered. The big three receivers – Manningham, Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks – did combine for 19 catches, but most of them came when the game was long out of reach.
Bottom line: The numbers probably appeared a little better than the actual impact.
A week after reserve linemen Will Beatty and Kevin Boothe held up just fine in Washington, it certainly wasn't the case Sunday against Carolina. The Panthers, led by all-world DE Julius Peppers, sacked Eli Manning four times and hit him on six other occasions. And the rare times the Giants were able to run the ball due to the early deficit, their longest run of the game went for only 13 yards.
Bottom line: This was an awful poor time for the Giants to have to play without 40 percent of its starting offensive line.
Carolina QB Matt Moore might well have been Donovan McNabb back in the pocket, with the way the Giants front four was totally unable to put any consistent pressure on him. Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart ran through countless arm tackle attempts by all the Giants defenders, but most especially the guys up front as well. Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck were both effective at times, but Osi Umenyiora was MIA, playing only five snaps, according to the two-time Pro Bowl DE.
Bottom line: We've said it pretty much all year that they need to not only get better but more consistent up front.
For as many tackles as the LBs made, they probably missed twice that amount. Jonathan Stewart was able to evade potential tackle after tackle all game long. The Giants linebackers were rarely in position to make tackles, and when they were, just failed to do so on most occasions. Michael Boley led the way with 11 stops, including seven solo tackles.
Bottom line: Unfortunately it was a case of Michael Boley and not much else in this disappointing loss.
Terrell Thomas was beaten by Panthers WR Muhsin Muhammad in the second quarter for a backbreaking 22-yard TD down the right sideline. Thomas did make a very nice garbage time tackle, throwing Mike Goodson for a seven-yard loss in the game's waning moments. He finished with nine tackles. CB Kevin Dockery, subbing for the injured Corey Webster, had a rough stretch in the second period when he missed an easy tackle on Steve Smith and then was flagged for pass interference only two plays later.
Bottom line: The secondary was once again exposed, but this time it was more so by the opposing running game than its aerial attack.
In what may turn out to be his final home game in a Giants uniform, Jeff Feagles did decently, averaging 41 yards on three punts. New York's coverage units limited Carolina PR Captain Munnerlyn to only 11 yards on his three returns. The Giants botched the extra-point try after their only touchdown. Feagles tried his best to make a play of it, but his desperation two-point pass attempt to pretty much no one fell incomplete.
Bottom line: They weren't awful, but they sure as heck didn't help matters any.
The offensive game-plan worked like a charm – early on the first drive, at least. After that the offense was stagnant, at best. Defensively, the Giants were unable to stop anyone on the Carolina side, which had become a weekly occurrence before Bill Sheridan's boys throttled the Redskins last week. It's becoming more and more likely that the Sheridan at DC experiment might only last one season.
Bottom line: The head man clearly didn't have the troops ready to go in this one.
X's and O's: Giants 9, Panthers 41
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