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Trouble from the start


CHARLOTTE – In Week 1, a slow start hurt the Panthers and proved costly.

In Week 2, the Panthers overcame a slow start to earn a victory.

A third consecutive slow start set the tone for a long night, a night that ended with a 36-7 loss to the Giants.

Afterwards, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn explained where it all went wrong. 

"The beginning," he said, shaking his head. "We didn't stop them. We never stopped the bleeding on defense. They got everything they wanted."

The Giants opened the game with an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive, making it three straight games in which the Panthers allowed a touchdown on the game's first possession.

"It's not the way you want to start a football game, letting them go down and score right away," rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly said.

Added safety Charles Godfrey: "We harp on the first series, getting off the field. We can't give up a touchdown. Stuff happens and we have to bounce back as a defense. I don't think we did that tonight." 

Quarterback Eli Manning completed 4-of-5 passes on the drive, connecting with four different receivers. Tight end Martellus Bennett was the fourth recipient, hauling in a 14-yard touchdown.

"When guys like Eli get hot, they stay hot," Kuechly said. "Once a guy like that gets in a groove, it's tough to get him out."

The Panthers couldn't get Manning out of his groove as he finished 27-of-35 for 288 yards and one touchdown with a 110.2 passer rating.

Another issue for the Carolina defense on the game's opening drive was containing running back Andre Brown, who rushed three times for 38 yards. Head coach Ron Rivera pointed to missed tackles at the line of scrimmage that allowed Brown to escape for big gains.

"When you (start slow) it's difficult," safety Charles Godfrey said. "But you have to weather the storm, we have to come back, we have to answer."

Facing an early deficit, the Panthers' offense failed to produce when it got its first chance.

On their first two offensive series, the Panthers picked up one first down before being forced to punt.

By the time they got the ball a third time, the score was 17-0 in favor of New York.

"Overall, it just got ugly fast," tackle Jordan Gross said. "Probably the exact opposite of what I thought was going to happen. I thought we were going to play with a lot of energy, and come out quick.

"The Giants definitely were the better team today."

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