Back-to-back weeks the Carolina Panthers have shocked fans. This time it was in a good way as Carolina decimated Eli Manning and the New York Giants. In what was supposed to be a game dominated by the Giants passing attack it was instead the Panthers front four who took over the game.
Manning was sacked seven times and intercepted once. Greg Hardy had three sacks on the day, Charles “Big Money” Johnson got in on the action with one, and rookie defensive tackles Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei each had their first sack of their careers. The pressure the front four applied allowed the secondary to hold up against Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Cruz had three grabs for 25 yards, while Nicks didn’t even register a catch. Surprisingly, he was only targeted once.
The defense’s performance allowed the offense enough opportunities to get going after a slow start to the season. Cam Newton used his rushing ability to accumulate 45 yards on the ground, and he found the end zone on a quarterback draw to put the Panthers up 31-0. As the game progressed he became more comfortable throwing the football and turned in a nice day through the air. Newton finished with 223 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Ted Ginn Jr. caught another deep pass for a score and was the leading receiver on the day for Carolina ( 3 receptions, 71 yards). To sum things up this game went the exact opposite as last year when these two teams met in Week 3. It was sweet revenge heading into the bye week and bought Ron Rivera some time.
We will see if this was a flash in the pan or the start of things turning around in Carolina. A date with Arizona in Week 5 should shed more light on where this team is going, but for now it’s time to enjoy this one.