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Giants vs. Panthers: Final Report Card, Player Grades for New York

Steven GoldsteinContributor IDecember 22, 2014

Giants vs. Panthers: Final Report Card, Player Grades for New York

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    No Hakeem Nicks? No Ahmad Bradshaw? No problem for the New York Giants, who improved to 2-1 with a 36-7 thumping of the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night.

    Eli Manning churned out a 110.2 quarterback rating, while tailback Andre Brown hit the endzone twice in his first career start. Defensively, the Giants were firing on all cylinders, intercepting quarterback Cam Newton three times and holding the potent Panthers rushing attack to just 60 yards.

    Just about everyone passed with flying colors in week 3. Check out a position-by-position breakdown of all the action, with final report cards for key G-Men. 

Quarterbacks

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    Eli Manning: A

    Manning was in top form on Thursday night, gashing a young Panthers defense for 288 yards. The ninth-year veteran completed 77 percent of his passes, and after testing the outside in week 2, Eli worked over the top in this one, giving big nights to wideout Ramses Barden and tight end Martellus Bennett.

    The play-action was there for Manning's offense, as was the screen game. Eli's velocity looked as good as ever, and he seemed to split the middle all night long.

    Admittedly, Manning saw a couple errant passes almost go for interceptions. Carolina linebacker Jon Beason and safety Charles Godfrey each saw bullets fly right through their hands.

    Still, it was a reassuring performance from the reigning Super Bowl MVP, who saw his big fourth quarter from Sunday carry over here.

    David Carr: B-

    Carr took the offense to a half-empty Bank of America Stadium, and completed just one of his two passing attempts for just four yards. He failed to find the endzone on a goal-line series, but you can't take too much away from second-string reps.

Running Backs

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    Andre Brown: A+

    You can't say enough about this kid. Brown displayed Pro Bowl-caliber cut moves and made holes when the interior couldn't get a push.

    In his prime-time debut, Brown chalked up two touchdowns and 113 yards, finishing with a 5.7 yards-per-carry average. He looked good in the screen game too, notching three receptions.

    He failed to pick up the outside blitz on a couple of occasions, but all in all, Brown's Thursday night stat line was way bigger than anyone expected. He'll garner a serious workload if he keeps this up, regardless of where incumbent starter Ahmad Bradshaw's at.

    Henry Hynoski: A

    Hynoski continues to spring 'backs for big runs, picking up second-level defenders and pacing Brown to a big night. He also saw a few check-downs from Manning, and finished with two catches.

    Da'Rel Scott: C+

    In "garbage time," Scott took six carries for just nine yards. It was a nothing performance for the fourth-string 'back, and Giants fans have to question why David Wilson didn't get the late-game nod here.

Wide Receivers

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    Ramses Barden: A+

    Skirting the "bust" label Giants fans have been waiting to peg for a while now, Barden came up big on Thursday night to the tune of 9 catches and nearly 140 receiving yards. Barden split the safeties and gassed corner Chris Gamble all night long.

    His cut routes looked perfect, and Barden displayed Nicks-like hands on a few mid-level plays. He should see time in the slot when Nicks returns.

    Victor Cruz: B+

    Cruz was more of a check-down option for Manning in this game. He finishes with six catches for just 42 yards.

    The big-play factor wasn't there, but it's worth noting that Cruz sprung Brown for a first-half gallop of 31 yards with an outside block.

    Rueben Randle: C-

    Where Barden stepped up, rookie Rueben Randle fell back.

    Randle caught just one pass on Thursday, and continues to be a non-factor in the receiving game. He and fellow rookie David Wilson have failed to make the initial impact that many fans expected to see.

Tight Ends

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    Martellus Bennett: A+

    With three "A" grades in three weeks of football, Bennett's become somewhat of a nerd for these Giants.

    Big Blue's finally found the tight end presence that's been missing since the departure of Kevin Boss. Bennett worked the middle all night, laid down some key run blocks, and came away with the game's only receiving touchdown. He finished with 73 receiving yards.

Offensive Line

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    Will Beatty: A

    After a rough 2011, Will Beatty seams to have found his stride.

    Beatty excelled in the left tackle spot on Thursday, leading the way for a bevy of Andre Brown bursts. The Giants allowed just one sack all night and no additional quarterback hits.

    Kevin Boothe: A

    Boothe and center David Baas dominated week 2, keeping the middle open all afternoon long. It was much of the same for Boothe this time.

    David Baas: A

    Baas helped Andre Brown break a couple cut-back runs up the middle. He and Boothe are really on the same page thus far, and the Giants' pocket stayed clean all game.

    Chris Snee: A-

    Snee's right side wasn't quite as strong as the left, but the Giants still got a great push from their veteran guard.

    Sean Locklear: A-

    Locklear was beat by Panthers DE Charles Johnson a couple of times, though it never amounted to anything. He did a stand-up job switching over to the right side, as tackle David Diehl sat this one out with a knee injury.

Defensive Line

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    Jason Pierre-Paul: A+

    "J.P.P." continues to dominate the line of scrimmage, coming away with two pass deflections and a half-sack on Thursday.

    Pierre-Paul has been excellent in run defense all season, and made a crucial third-down stop on a Newton bootleg early in the game.

    Osi Umenyiora: A

    Umenyiora recorded the first sack of the game, his first of the year, and got the Giants' defense going early. He continues to see limited reps in Perry Fewell's defense, however.

    Linvall Joseph: A-

    Joseph has been huge in the middle, and the Giants shut down the interior run for a second straight week. He came away with two tackles, and chased Newton out of the pocket on a second-half play.

    Justin Tuck: B+

    Tuck's yet to make a real impact as a pass rusher in 2012, but his run defense has been top-notch. He made two aggressive stops on DeAngelo Williams early in the game, but fans will be looking for the defensive captain to pick up his first sack eventually.

    Rocky Bernard: B

    Bernard came away with one tackle, and held down the middle all night long. After making five stops against the Bucs, the veteran DT wasn't quite as involved in this one.

Linebackers

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    Michael Boley: A+

    Boley starts 2012 with an interception in three consecutive games, something no Giant's done all decade.

    He tied for the team lead in tackles with six, and recorded a pass deflection as well. Boley was thought to be a liability in pass coverage, and although he allowed some third-quarter receptions to tight end Greg Olsen, his three picks speak for themselves.

    Boley jumped a well-zoned Olsen route perfectly, and has emerged as this defense's leading play-maker.

    Chase Blackburn: B

    Over-pursuit plagued Blackburn for the first two weeks of the season, but Carolina didn't test the play-action much on Thursday. Blackburn finished with just one tackle.

    Mathias Kiwanuka: B

    Like Blackburn, "Kiwi" didn't stack the stat sheet, but he stayed active on the edge. The Giants will look to balance him with fellow OLB Keith Rivers in coming weeks.

Defensive Backs

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    Jayron Hosley: A+

    Hosley missed a second-quarter tackle on Greg Olsen, leading to an extra handful of yards for a driving Carolina offense.

    That was about the only thing that went wrong for the rookie corner.

    Hosley recorded his first career interception--and the first turnover of the game--with a heads-up deflection from receiver Brandon LaFell. He flashed toe-to-toe speed all night, and performed well when lined up against stand-out receiver Steve Smith.

    Kenny Phillips: A

    Phillips continues to be New York's most consistent DB. He was all over the field on Thursday, and spent time covering the slot, which was shut down all night long.

    Stevie Brown: A

    Brown didn't see much playing time on Thursday, but came away with a fourth-quarter interception. He and fellow UFA safety Will Hill are making early impacts in this defense.

    Prince Amukamara: B+

    In his 2012 debut, Prince allowed a few grabs to Greg Olsen, playing on the right side of a three-DB zone. He was also flagged for a personal foul, but certainly held his own for the most part. 

    Corey Webster: B

    New York's No. 1 corner continues to struggle, and he allowed a few late-game catches to Smith. Still, this was a definite improvement over the past two weeks. He returned to the game after missing some snaps with a hand injury, and drew two pass interference calls as well.

    Antrel Rolle: B-

    Rolle did tie for the team high in tackles with six, but he continues to be a problem over the top. At times he seemed lost in space, and was out-muscled by Greg Olsen on a few plays. Rolle took a nasty collision with a cameraman in the fourth quarter. 

Special Teams

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    Lawrence Tynes: A+

    Tynes was flawless on Thursday, connecting on all five of his field goal attempts, including kicks from 47 and 49 yards out.

    His kickoffs looked a little short, but the Giants couldn't have asked for more from their placekicker.

    Steve Weatherford: A

    Amazingly, Weatherford punted just twice the entire game. Both of his kicks pinned the Panthers inside their own 20.

    Justin Tryon: A

    Tryon scooped up a muffed punt in the fourth quarter. While the game was just about over, and Tryon has struggled playing corner in 2012, he gets an "A" for effort here.

    Spencer Paysinger: A

    Like Tryon, Paysinger recovered a Joe Adams fumble on special teams. He finished with two tackles, and New York's return coverage was spot-on.

    David Wilson: B-

    Wilson took just one kickoff return for 19 yards. While he touts explosive speed, Wilson's yet to make a real impact for this team.

Coaching

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    Final Game Grade: A+

    In a game that many tagged as a sure-fire upset, the Giants came out and executed their game-plan to perfection.

    Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride found a way to make it work with depleted personnel, while defensive coordinator Perry Fewell stifled the Panthers' offense with a unique three-corner zone and relentless run blitzes.

    Tom Coughlin's Giants stayed focused the entire game, despite leading big by the end of the first half.

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