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Giants spoil Panthers' primetime show


CHARLOTTE – As far as Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is concerned, Big Blue looked a lot like a big brother Thursday night at Bank of America Stadium.

"What this was, is a lesson that you get from your big brother," Rivera said.

"They came in, slapped you around, dragged you through the ground a little bit. Hopefully, we learn from it; hopefully, we don't like it."

On this day, the Panthers were overmatched, suffering a 36-7 defeat to the defending Super Bowl champions.

New York scored on 8 of 10 possessions and recorded five takeaways. Conversely, Carolina produced one score and failed to force a turnover.

"We got beat by a better football team. That's the truth of the matter," Rivera said. "They outcoached us and outplayed us."

The Giants opened the game with an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. Carolina defenders missed several tackles during the series, allowing running back Andre Brown in particular to turn minimal gains into first downs.

Quarterback Eli Manning ultimately found tight end Martellus Bennett in the end zone from 14 yards out to cap the drive and give the Giants the early 7-0 lead.

"You can't miss tackles in this league against good football players," Rivera said. "When you do that, bad things are going to happen."

Added safety Charles Godfrey: "That's the thing -- we have to tackle as a defense. When you miss those tackles and they run for those extra yards, that's tough."

When the Panthers' first drive stalled near midfield, the Giants took over and moved into Carolina territory in two plays. Brown broke more tackles on his way to a 16-yard run, and wide receiver Ramses Barden picked up 21 yards on a quick slant that he broke to the outside.

But Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn broke up a third-down pass intended to Victor Cruz over the middle, forcing New York to settle for a 47-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal late in the first quarter.

Following another Panthers' punt, the Giants put together another touchdown drive. This time, they traveled 72 yards in nine plays. Brown charged into the end zone for a 1-yard score to extend the lead to 17-0 with 12:08 to go in the second quarter.

The Panthers next possession resulted in a third consecutive punt and Tynes added a 49-yard field goal to give the Giants a 20-0 advantage.

With 3:31 remaining in the first half, the Carolina offense appeared primed to cut into the deficit after three straight completions moved the ball into Giants' territory.

Then came the game's first turnover.

Newton's short pass to Brandon LaFell forced the wideout to reach back with his right hand to attempt a one-handed catch. The ball bounced off LaFell's hand and into the grasp of cornerback Jayron Hosley for the interception.

At half, the Giants had outgained the Panthers 263 to 122 and scored on four-of-five possessions. Manning had already accumulated 208 yards through the air on 19-of-24 passing.

"We couldn't slow them down," Munnerlyn said.

The Panthers received the kickoff to begin the second half but they didn't possess the ball for long.

Returner Joe Adams fumbled and the Giants recovered at the Carolina 19-yard line. Moments later, Tynes knocked in a 30-yard field goal.

Down 23-0, the Panthers offense took the field and put their first points on the board.

Newton engineered a 13-play, 80-yard drive where he completed four first-down passes. On third-and-goal, the Panthers quarterback leaped over the pile for a 1-yard score.

The Giants countered with a field goal from Tynes with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter.

Carolina then turned the ball over for a third time.

After a sack set up third-and-22, Newton's hopeful third down pass for tight end Greg Olsen was picked off by linebacker Michael Boley.

"I thought there were some really good things that (Cam) did," Rivera said. "Unfortunately, he missed a couple reads where he could have made some other decisions. He got a little anxious at the end and tried to force the ball a couple times and unfortunately bad things happened.

"I think we have to give (Cam) a little more help."

Minutes later, Brown recorded his second 1-yard touchdown run and the Giants led 33-7.

Newton was picked off a third time on the ensuing possession. His fourth-and-goal pass was intercepted by Stevie Brown in the end zone. After the Panthers forced a three-and-out, Adams muffed the punt, allowing the Giants to take over at the Carolina 19-yard line, which led to Tynes' fifth field goal of the game.

"All three phases tonight were a disappointment," Olsen said. "This is not the product we were hoping to put on the field.

"(The Giants) got the better of us."

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