Rapid Reactions: Panthers survive a wild one

Are you not entertained?

Of course Graham Gano made it.

A wild and crazy game that nearly defies description ended as only it seemed it could - with a 63-yard field goal by Gano to give the Panthers a 33-31 victory over the Giants.

New York appeared to pull it out when running back Saquon Barley scored on a 15-yard reception with 68 seconds left, but Gano won it with a field goal just one yard short of the NFL record. He appeared to know it was good, raising his arms in celebration right after it left his foot.

Wild and crazy from the start

Panthers safety Colin Jones scored the first career touchdown (on a special teams fumble recovery) and Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. scored his first touchdown of the season (on a pass to Barkley). That was just a part of a first half that felt like an adrenaline rush that wouldn't stop.

The second half was just as bonkers (in one stretch the quarterbacks combined to toss four interceptions over the course of five drives), but through a day of crazy plays the Panthers persevered and improved to 3-1.

Carolina struggled out of the bye its first few years under head coach Ron Rivera, but the Panthers have now won four consecutive games coming out of a bye. This one was definitely more difficult than anyone foresaw but also awfully entertaining.

Tone setter for the craziness

Carolina claimed its first lead with a highlight-filled five-play touchdown drive midway through the opening quarter. After Rivera won a challenge to earn a 13-yard gain for Devin Funchess (Rivera later lost a challenge as well), rookie wide receiver DJ Moore looked like a bruising back on an 18-yard reverse.

Quarterback Cam Newton was a bruising blocker on the play, which was soon followed by Curtis Samuel loudly proclaiming his return after being sidelined the first month of the season. The second-year wideout scored his first career touchdown, a 25-yarder on which he ran past/through people to turn a nice gain into a highlight-reel score.

The craziness

The Panthers' next possession appeared to end with a punt but didn't end there. The Giants, looking for a spark after a 1-3 start, put Beckham back to return punts. He didn't field the punt inside the 5 with Moore nearby but Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins feared Beckham might have touched the ball. Jenkins tried to pick it up, Samuel knocked it loose, then Moore doubled back to land on Giants cornerback Eli Apple in the end zone to prevent him from securing the recovery. That's when Jones swooped in for the recovery and a 14-3 lead.

The Panthers extended their edge to 17-3 midway through the second quarter, but then Beckham brought the Giants back in an unlikely way when he took a backwards pass from Manning and flung it deep down the other side of the field for Barkley, who caught it in stride and sped 57 yards for the score.

More craziness

From that play on, the Giants remained in striking distance - aside from one brief moment. The Panthers appeared to take control once and for all when they converted a Mike Adams interception late in the third quarterback into a Christian McCaffrey touchdown catch for a 27-16. Then Adams picked Manning again, setting up Carolina past at the Giants' 45 with 10:37 to play. Newton, however, was picked a couple of plays later - the two quarterbacks' fourth pick over five drives - and Beckham soon after split two defenders for a 33-yard score. The two-point conversion made what looked headed toward a three-score game into a three-point game at 27-24.

The Panthers, however, responded back with a run-heavy, clock-eating march that put them back in good shape but didn't get them out of the woods. Highlighted by a fourth-and-1 connection from Newton to Jarius Wright for 27 yards, the drive consumed nearly six of the approximately eight minutes left when Beckham caught his touchdown pass.

Gano's 39-yard field goal with 2:16 left put the Panthers up 30-24, but clearly the Giants weren't done. Neither was Gano.

View photos from the Panthers' 33-31 win over the Giants in Week 5.

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