Carolina Panthers Cough One Up to the New York Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 12: Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants goes up for a his second touchdown reception against Captain Munnerlyn of the Carolina Panthers on September 12, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Remove shoe, insert foot in mouth.

I deserve whatever is coming to me in the wake of this loss…from Giants fans, that is.

The Carolina Panthers start their 2010 season out in shamefully familiar territory, with an 0-1 start. At least the beating on the scoreboard wasn’t as bad as last season, but the Giants played a solid 60 minutes of football and were convincingly the better team to win this round.

Most Panthers fans are probably calling for rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen to replace Matt Moore already, and while late in the game I was pleading for the coaching staff to sub Clausen in, it was more because of the fact that whatever was left of Moore’s confidence was almost non-existent. There was no way this team was going to redemm the two possessions it had fallen behind by with three minutes remaining, and why not let the rookie get his feet a little wet?

So after Moore suffered a drive-ending concussion (we’ll keep you updated as we hear more), Clausen got to see the long end of the field for a quick three-and-out with under two minutes to go in the game. It wasn’t pretty, but he didn’t get sacked, he didn’t throw any picks, and he didn’t fumble the ball away.

The Giants defense spent much of the second half eating the Panthers offensive line, which looked ridiculous, and was all over Moore like a cheap suit.

On the flip-side, I was more than fairly impressed with the tenacity played by the defensive front and the linebackers. If I were to grade them, I’d give them an A- today. They did give up some runs, but more times than not, they were right there, and even behind the Giants line of scrimmage attacking Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.

The defensive secondary gets a C-…and with that I’m feeling generous. I liked the two picks by free safety Sherrod Martin and strong safety Charles Godfrey, but what happened to cornerbacks Richard Marshall and Chris Gamble? They couldn’t get a pick to save themselves. Most of the work in that area of the secondary was performed by mighty-might Captain Munnerlyn, whom I was impressed by.

Munnerlyn played on both defense and special teams, and while special teams didn’t make any eye-popping plays, they did play smart on the return, while picking up some decent yards. The defensive side of special teams also played well, save a couple returns by the Giants that went a little further than I was comfortable with.

I didn’t like the way the coaching staff stuck with DeAngelo Williams after it was pretty evident that the Giants defense was able to shut him out of the game, and felt they could have switched him out with Jonathan Stewart.

What’s up with Stewart? the guy doesn’t practice anymore, and today I think he was only in the game on two or three plays. Is there something more to that that’s not being let-on about?

Breaking it down, I have my rendition of the Panthers’ grades for today’s game.

Run Defense: A-

Defensive Secondary: C-

Quarterbacks: D-

The only reason quarterbacks get a D- is because Moore finally connected with Steve Smith for an offensive touchdown.

Offensive Line: F

The O-line gave up too many blocks allowing the Giants defense to sack Moore and even gave him a concussion at the end of the game.

Running Backs: C

I would have liked to have seen Jonathan Stewart get more involved with the offense later in the game, as Williams and Mike Goodson were limited to playmaking.

Receivers: C

I can’t blame the lack of success solely on the receivers, as the quarterback made some errant passes and some bad judgment calls, and ultimately the offensive line fell apart, so they were a slightly less-than-average group today. Smith, Brandon LaFell, Dwayne Jarrett, and Dante’ Rosario had some nice catches today at least.

Special Teams: B

I liked what I saw all around from special teams today. They weren’t flashy, but they played smart on both sides.

Next week, the Panthers play host to the division rival Tampa bay Buccaneers. Hopefully, this will be a chance for Carolina to correct it’s mistakes from today’s game and get it’s first win of the season.

Follow Cat Crave on Twitter @THECatCrave.

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Tags: Captain Munnerlyn Carolina Panthers Carolina Panthers Grades DeAngelo Williams Eli Manning Jimmy Clausen Jonathan Stewart Matt Moore New York Giants NFL Sherrod Martin Week 1

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