It's hard to find any kind of silver lining in the Giants' 38-0 defeat at the hands of the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon. Just like New York smashed the Panthers in Week 3 last year in a thorough and convincing manner, Carolina returned the favor this season and was able to best the Giants in every aspect of the game.
Despite coming into the game with a banged-up secondary, the Carolina Panthers held New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning to just 119 passing yards, which was his lowest total since December 28, 2008. On that date, Manning played in just a single half of action in Minnesota because the Giants had already wrapped up the number one seed in the NFC. The last time Manning threw for fewer than 119 yards in a complete game was on December 23, 2007, when New York defeated Buffalo in a snowstorm.
A powerful rushing attack allowed the Giants to defeat the Bills that day en route to their victory in Super Bowl XLII. No such rushing attack was present in New York's humiliating loss on Sunday. The Giants did set a season high for rushing yards against Carolina, but their total was still just a meager 60 yards. David Wilson had a touchdown called back by a holding penalty in the first quarter and could only muster 39 yards on 11 carries.
The lack of a prominent running game wouldn't be as much of a problem if Manning wasn't under siege all game. Carolina's pass rush, led by defensive end Greg Hardy, sacked Manning seven times on Sunday. The Giants hadn't allowed that many sacks since they let up eight in a win over the Eagles in September 2006.
On defense, things were just as ugly for the Giants. Panthers halfback DeAngelo Williams turned in a vintage performance with 120 yards on 23 carries, while quarterback Cam Newton finally starting playing like the Panthers need him to. The versatile Newton threw for three touchdown passes and 223 yards in the passing game and also scored a rushing touchdown to go with 45 yards on the ground.
Two of Newton's passing touchdowns went to Brandon LaFell, who became the third player in as many weeks to find the end zone multiple times against New York. Jason Witten and Knowshon Moreno also scored a pair of touchdowns when they played the Giants.
Any good news? There's not much to go on. Mathias Kiwanuka did post his first sack of the season. Jason Pierre-Paul was similarly productive with five solo tackles in his first start since offseason back surgery. It was also nice to see Aaron Ross come up with an interception in this game, even if the Giants couldn't take advantage of it. It was Ross's first pick since November 20, 2011 when the Giants hosted Vince Young and the Eagles.
So what do the Giants do to prepare for another team with a fierce pass rush and a mobile quarterback in the Chiefs this week? Improve. In all aspects of the game.