Eli Manning of the New York Giants looks to pass in the first half against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 20, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Even with four key offensive players in Hakeem Nicks, Ahmad Bradshaw, Domenik Hixon, and David Diehl were ruled out with injuries this week, the New York Giants were still able to put up 36 points over the Carolina Panthers in a dominant 36-7 victory Thursday night.
The Giants were able to dominate the game from both sides of the football. Eli Manning took his bench and made them look like regulars with Andre Brown and Ramses Barden playing their career games. Martellus Bennett had some huge catches and the offensive line gave Manning so much protection he felt little to no pressure. The defense kept Cam Newton from moving in and out of the pocket and limited him to six rushing yards.
Many players had some big moments in this victory, but here are some of the highlights:
1. Andre Brown's 31-yard run in the opening drive
The Giants had a very strong opening drive to get things going right away, but it was Brown who brought the first bit of momentum. Manning handed to ball off to Brown who was off to the races after for a 31-yard run which eventually set up the first touchdown of the game; a 14-yard pass to the tight end Bennett.
2. Giants score on first four possessions
Sometimes it's hard to pick out just one play in a blow-out, so here I'll use multiple. When opening any football game it is always key to score early, and the Giants were able to get points on the board in all of their first four possessions. Bennett and Brown both scored touchdowns and Lawrence Tynes kicked two field goals to make the score 20-0 going into halftime. In fact, Giants punter Steve Weatherford only needed to do his job twice last night. Tynes was 5-for-5 in field goals.
3. Cam Newton leads a scoring drive in the third quarter
It took Newton until the third quarter to try and gain some momentum for the Panthers. He lead the team to their only scoring drive of the game, which was a 1-yard touchdown he took himself leaping over the Giants defensive front. Newton also kept that energy in the fourth quarter trying to get the Panthers down the field again for another touchdown. He started to look like the Newton we're used to seeing. That is until...
4. Jason Pierre-Paul fourth quarter sack
The Giants needed to find a way to kill the momentum Newton had, and Pierre-Paul got the job done. On a second down snap, Pierre-Paul rushed the Panthers' offensive line and knocked Newton on his rear. And if that wasn't enough to kill the energy for Newton...
5. Michael Boley interception
Boley got his third interception of the year to help seal the victory for the Giants. H'es the first Giants player to start the season with an interception in the first three games of the season since Terry Jackson in 1978. This put the Giants in good field position on the Panthers' 48-yard line and Manning led them down the field once again giving the ball to Brown for a 1-yard touchdown, making the score 33-7.
Thanks to the Thursday night game, the Giants now have extra time off to prepare for their Week 4 game against the division rival Philadelphia Eagles, which is on Sunday Night Football on September 30.
-- You can follow Kelsey O'Donnell on Twitter @KelsODonnell