There was definitely plenty of credit to Cam Newton for finally getting his offense and passing game going, but the Carolina Panthers were mostly proud of their defense, which didn’t give a single point while sacking Eli Manning 7 times.
The New York Giants are winless (0-3), and Eli Manning is in a situation of having a terrible offensive line, without a running game, as their greatest strength in the past, their quality front four, is no longer anything special.
The Carolina Panthers won 38-0, making a statement about their ability to come back from a rough start to this season and still contend in the NFC South. The problem is that the New York Giants might be so bad they’re not an indication for anything at this point.
Cam Newton finally got the aerial game going. The Panthers did focus on the ground game (46 carries, 194 yards), as DeAngelo Williams finished with 120 yards while Newton and Mike Tolbert each ran for a touchdown, but Newton also threw three touchdown passes to Ted Ginn Jnr and Brandon LaFell (twice), showing another part of the Giants’ failing construct that simply doesn’t work.
Eli Manning was supposed to pick apart this weakened secondary with his throwing, but just like against the Cowboys and the Broncos, there’s not much you can do without proper protection or a running game. Manning tried to be as polite as possible about protecting the pass-rush at the end of the game.
We have to find ways to slow down the pass rush. Whether that is running the ball with screens or getting the ball out quicker.
The extremely talented Panthers front seven was all over the Giants. Tom Coughlin no longer trusts David Wilson, but he doesn’t have a choice but keep giving him the ball, going for 39 yards on 11 carries, this time leaving the fumbles to someone else. Manning threw his eighth interception of the season, but being sacked seven times was probably his low-light of the afternoon.
It wasn’t the most he was ever sacked, but it might have been his most inefficient game, averaging only 2.5 yards per dropback. The worst part about the Giants’ performance was a total of 18 yards in the first half, their lowest total in any half since 2001.
Disappointed isn’t a strong enough word. I expected more. I thought that we could at least be competitive. I thought that we were in a position today that we would be able to put our best foot forward, but we never gave ourselves a chance, competitively, to be in the game.
While the Giants are stunned from their name not being good enough to get them wins, the Panthers seemed to finally embracing some long overdue appreciation for how good they actually are. They lost two very close games on the first couple of weeks, and should have been over .500 at this point. All the players seemed mostly happy about giving their head coach, Ron Rivera, some room to breath.
It’s going to be hard catching up with the New Orleans Saints the way they’re going, but the Panthers have a quality front seven and a disciplined running game with a quarterback that makes less mistakes than in the past, which just might be enough to make this season one to remember.