The Series: With the 31-18 victory, the Giants won for the third time in the last four meetings against the Panthers, who lead the all-time series 4-3. Carolina faced New York in the Giants' last home game at Giants Stadium - a 41-9 Panthers win (12/27/09) - and was their first regular season opponent in the new Meadowlands Stadium.
Regular Season Openers: This marked the seventh time in the franchise's 16-year history and the third time in the last four years that Carolina began the season on the road. The Panthers are 6-10 in regular-season openers, including 4-5 under head coach John Fox, with a 3-6 record at home and 3-4 mark on the road.
Opening Day Quarterbacks: The Panthers had a different starting quarterback on Kickoff Weekend for the first time since 2004 as Matt Moore opened under center. Jake Delhomme made a team record six starts at quarterback in regular season openers from 2004-09. Other opening day starting signal callers for Carolina have been Frank Reich (1995), Kerry Collins (1996, 1998), Steve Beuerlein (1997, 1999-2000), Chris Weinke (2001) and Rodney Peete (2002-03).
For Starters: Wide receiver Brandon LaFell became the ninth rookie to start on opening day for the Panthers since John Fox became the team's head coach in 2002. He posted his first career reception for eight yards in the second quarter and finished the game with two catches for 22 yards.
LaFell joined defensive end Julius Peppers in 2002, tackle Jordan Gross in 2003, cornerback Chris Gamble in 2004, linebacker Thomas Davis - who started at safety in 2005, linebacker Jon Beason in 2007, center Ryan Kalil - who started at guard in 2007, safety Charles Godfrey in 2008 and tackle Jeff Otah in 2008.
Third-year middle linebacker Dan Connor made his first NFL start after playing in 16 games last season and spending all but three games on injured reserve as a rookie in 2008. Fourth-year defensive tackle Derek Landri also started his first NFL game. He was inactive for the Panthers' final five games last year after being claimed off waivers from Jacksonville, where he played in 35 games from 2007-09.
Smith Catches TD Record: Wide receiver Steve Smith, who finished the game with team highs of five catches and 75 receiving yards, scored on a 19-yard reception in the second quarter to become the Panthers' all-time leader with 51 receiving touchdowns. He broke a tie with Muhsin Muhammad, who totaled 50 receiving touchdowns from 1996-2004 and 2008-09. Smith, ironically, tied Muhammad with a 27-yard touchdown catch at the New York Giants (12/27/09). He ranks first in team history with 59 total touchdowns [51 pass, 6 return, 2 run], 51 receiving touchdowns and 32 games with 100 or more receiving yards and stands second with 579 catches, 8,405 receiving yards, and 356 points scored.
Double Trouble: Running back DeAngelo Williams rushed a team-leading 62 yards on 16 carries, while running back Jonathan Stewart added 12 yards on five attempts.
Quarterbacks: Panthers quarterbacks combined to complete 14-of-35 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions to generate a 30.9 quarterback rating.
Matt Moore completed 14-of-33 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions to produce a 32.6 quarterback rating, the lowest rating in any of his nine career starts. He equaled his single-game high of 33 attempts, previously achieved versus Minnesota (12/20/09). The three interceptions were the most Moore has ever thrown in a game, surpassing his previous high of one - accomplished seven times, most recently at Tampa Bay (12/6/09). In addition to throwing three interceptions, he also lost one fumble and was sacked four times.
After Moore was injured late in the fourth quarter, rookie Jimmy Clausen made his NFL debut and threw two incomplete passes on Carolina's final possession.
In The Zone: The Panthers posted a 40 percent efficiency rating in the red zone, scoring one touchdown and one field goal on five trips inside New York's 20-yard line. All three of Moore's interceptions occurred in the Giants' end zone - two on passes intended for tight end Gary Barnidge and one targeted for Smith.
Takeaway/Giveaway: Carolina forced four turnovers. Safety Charles Godfrey intercepted two passes, the 18th time in team history that a player recorded two thefts in one game. Linebacker James Anderson notched his first career interception when he picked off Giants quarterback Eli Manning in the second quarter. Safety Sherrod Martin recovered a fumble that was forced by rookie defensive end Greg Hardy.
The Panthers turned it over five times on three interceptions and two fumbles to finish with a minus-one turnover ratio. The four takeaways resulted in no points for Carolina, and the five giveaways led to seven points for New York.
The nine combined turnovers between the two teams matched the second-most turnovers in a game by the Panthers and their opponent - previously accomplished four times, most recently versus Philadelphia (9/13/09). The most turnovers by both teams occurred at New Orleans (11/16/95) with 10.
Sakrete Sacks: The Panthers collected one sack against the Giants. Connor registered his first-career sack when he dropped Eli Manning for a five-yard loss in the first quarter. During the 2010 season, Sakrete is donating $100 to the BVC Playground Build for every sack the Panthers record. Including Carolina's 19 sacks in the preseason, $2,000 has been raised.
Kasay Kicks Up The Charts: Kicker John Kasay scored 10 points against New York to move into eighth place in NFL history for points scored with 1,741, bettering the 1,736 totaled by Norm Johnson from 1982-1999. He connected on all three of his field-goal attempts, converting from 21, 52 and 43 yards, and his only extra-point opportunity. Over his 20-year NFL career with Seattle and Carolina, Kasay has made 38-of-75 attempts of more than 50 yards, including 32-of-65 for the Panthers, with a career-long 56-yarder versus Green Bay (9/27/98).
Kasay also ranks seventh in NFL history with 411 made field goals. He is the Panthers' all-time leader with 1,400 points scored and 329 field goals.
Baker's Treat: Punter Jason Baker generated a gross average of 43.3 yards and net average of 36.5 yards with none inside the 20, no touchbacks and long of 48 yards on four punts.
Table Setters: Kick returners Mike Goodson, Jordan Pugh and Captain Munnerlyn consistently gave Carolina good field position throughout the game as the Panthers had an average drive start of their own 40-yard line. Goodson averaged 23.4 yards on five kickoff returns with a long of 45 yards, and Pugh returned one kickoff for 32 yards. Munnerlyn averaged 19 yards on two punt returns with a long of 28 and returned a free kick 23 yards.
A 28-yard punt return by Munnerlyn set up a field goal in the first quarter, a 32-yard kickoff return by Pugh led to a field goal in the second quarter, and a 45-yard kickoff return by Goodson resulted in a touchdown just before halftime.
Safety Dance: Hardy blocked a punt by Giants punter Matt Dodge out of the end zone for a safety in the fourth quarter. It represented Carolina's first safety since defensive tackle Hollis Thomas tackled Bills running back Fred Jackson in the end zone for a safety versus Buffalo (10/25/09). It marked the Panthers first blocked punt since wide receiver Karl Hankton blocked a Josh Bidwell punt at Tampa Bay (12/26/04) and their first blocked kick since defensive end Julius Peppers blocked a 51-yard field-goal attempt by kicker David Akers versus Philadelphia (9/13/09).
Inactives: The following eight players were inactive for the Panthers: wide receiver Armanti Edwards, wide receiver David Gettis, defensive tackle Nick Hayden, defensive tackle Andre Neblett, tackle Jeff Otah, quarterback Tony Pike, linebacker Jordan Senn, and running back Tyrell Sutton.
New York Minutes: Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks tied the record for the most receiving touchdowns in a game by a Panthers' opponent with three, previously accomplished by Derrick Mayes for Green Bay (9/27/98). He scored on receptions of 26, 19 and five yards.