Panthers vs. Giants: Instant Grades and Analysis for Carolina's Week 3 Game

Stephen FenechCorrespondent ISeptember 20, 2012

Panthers vs. Giants: Instant Grades and Analysis for Carolina's Week 3 Game

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    The Carolina Panthers were embarrassed by the New York Giants by a score of 36-7 in Week 3. This loss was a statement to the rest of the NFL that the Panthers may not be ready to take the next step this season. 

    This loss drops the Panthers to 1-2 and elevates the Giants to 2-1.

    Let's take a look at the Panthers' final post game grades and evaluations.  

Cam Newton- F

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    Overall Game Grade- F

    Cam Newton finished the game with a passer rating of 40.6, which was the worst of his career.

    For the night, Newton went 16-for-30 for 242 yards while throwing three interceptions and recording one rushing touchdown. 

    This performance is on the short list for the worst of Newton's career, as the offense didn't look ready to play the Giants on a short week.

    New York's athletic defensive line frustrated Cam all night, although the poor play from the offensive line certainly didn't help.

    This was a horrible performance from Newton. He has to be better moving forward or this could be the beginning of the end for a team that isn't strong on the defensive side of the ball.  

    Fourth Quarter- F

    With the Panthers down 19 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter, it was obvious that Cam Newton was going to have to throw the ball downfield more in an attempt to make up the deficit. 

    The problem is that the Giants are generating pressure with their front four and doing an admirable job covering Newton's receivers. That combination led to a Michael Boley interception on third-and-long, which put New York in an even better position.

    Newton threw a perfect strike to Greg Olsen who dropped a sure touchdown. On the very next play, Cam threw an interception that capped off a terrible night for both Newton and the Panthers.  

    Third Quarter- B

    Cam Newton came out of the locker room throwing lasers to his wide outs and has made throwing from the pocket a priority.

    That being said, Newton is still at his best in the open field. During the first drive, he sold Osi Umenyiora on a read-opiton, which allowed DeAngelo Williams to gain five yards to move the Panthers deeper into Giants territory.

    Newton makes Carolina one of the best red zone teams in the league, as evidenced by his one-yard touchdown leap for the teams' first score.  

    Second Quarter- D 

    Cam Newton has had two passes tipped at the line of scrimmage by Jason Pierre-Paul, which have played into the lack of rhythm during the game's first 20 minutes of play.

    On a big third-down, Newton stood tall in the pocked and delivered a perfect pass to Brandon LaFell for the first down. Even with that play, it doesn't appear as if Newton and the Panthers offense is on the verge of getting anything going.

    Newton has missed a couple open receivers due to not reading the defense properly, but he isn't the only reason that the Panthers had such a tough first half.

    Cam completed four straight passes toward the end of the second quarter, before he under threw a wide open Greg Olsen.

    Newton threw an interception on a pass that was thrown behind Brandon LaFell to end Panthers first real threat of the half. 

    For the half, Newton went 5-for-12 with an interception, which isn't going to earn his a passing grade.  

    First Quarter- D 

    Cam Newton went 1-for-4 in the first quarter for just 23 yards. 

    The Giants pass rush and run defense have shut him down thus far, and not surprisingly, the Panthers haven't been able to do much on offense as a result.

    New York's athletic defensive line have brought Newton down on every one of his rushing attempts, so nothing worked for Cam in the first quarter. 

Offense- F

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    Overall Game Grade- F

    As Cam Newton goes, the offense goes, and that was the case tonight. 

    The offensive line was terrible and rarely allowed the players at the skill positions to get into a rhythm. 

    While Carolina ran the ball better against the Giants than they did against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, that doesn't mean that this wasn't their worst game of the young season. 

    Entering the season, the offense was the perceived strength of the team. Through three games, that strength isn't looking all that strong anymore. 

    Steve Smith and Greg Olsen were probably the only members of the offense that played well. 

    Carolina has a little extra time to go back to the drawing board offensively, as they don't play again until September 30th when they meet the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. 

    Fourth Quarter- F 

    Jordan Gross is having a tough night blocking Jason Pierre-Paul, who has been Cam Newton's nemesis on the night.

    On the bright side, Steve Smith displayed his athleticism on a 33-yard gain on a play that he outmaneuvered Corey Webster to the sideline. The next time that Newton targeted Smith, Webster was called for pass interference. 

    The emergence of Smith in the fourth quarter is largely irrelevant outside of fantasy football, but it raises the question as to why they didn't look for him more often earlier in the contest.

    The offense drove the ball inside the Giants ten-yardline, but the drive ended in frustration as Newton threw his third pick of the night.  

    Third Quarter- C+

    On their first offensive play of the second half, the Panthers finally used a screen pass to take advantage of the Giants aggressive defensive lines.

    It is crucial for Carolina to keep the Giants defensive ends on their heels, or they will continue to chase Cam Newton all over the field.  

    The Panthers have found themselves in too many third-and-longs, which is tough to convert time and time again when faced with the Giants explosive pass rush.

    Carolina's first drive of the third quarter was full of misdirection plays, screens and other calls that took advantage of the Giants athletic defensive line.

    Cam Newton topped off a 13 play 80-yard drive with a leaping touchdown run to make the game competitive once again.

    The offense finally put together a complete drive, but it may be too little too late.  

    Second Quarter- D  

    Right tackle Gary Williams isn't keeping Jason Pierre-Paul's hands down on short passes, which has allowed the defensive end to break up two Cam Newton passes.

    The Panthers offensive line is getting outplayed by the Giants defensive line and are dominating the game.

    Making matters worse, Osi Umenyiora sacked Newton to end the Panthers third drive.

    Even when the Panthers have been able to move the chains, the constant pressure that the Giants are generating is keeping Carolina from getting comfortable.

    Greg Olsen has hauled in three catches for 50 yards, but that's as good as it gets for the Panthers.

    The Panthers will be open the second half down by three scores and won't have much time to get things straightened out.  

    First Quarter- C-  

    The Panthers opened up with DeAngelo Williams behind center and he rushed for five yards to give them a manageable second down. 

    How the Panthers perform on third down will be key. So far so good, as Newton hit Greg Olsen on the left hashmarks for a big 23-yard gain. After that play, Newton rushed the team to the line and ran an option with Williams to his left. 

    The play caught the Giants defense by surprise and hopefully the Panthers will come back to that later.

    Byron Bell is inactive against the Giants so Gary Williams is starting at right tackle against the Giants. 

    Williams typically plays guard and will be blocking Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck, which on't be an easy task.

    The Giants are doing an excellent job containing Newton and are getting good pressure when he stays in the pocket. 

    The Panthers aren't finding much success with the read-option, as New York's defensive ends are clearly well prepared to stifle that play.

    DeAngelo Williams had a decent first quarter, running the ball five times for 33-yards.

    Carolina is down ten points and the defense isn't looking very good, so the offense needs to start scoring in the second frame.  

Defense- F

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    Overall Game Grade- F

    The defense surrendered 417 yards and 36 points in what can only be explained as a terrible performance. 

    Eli Manning threw from a clean pocket all night, as evidenced by his 110.2 passer rating. He also connected on 77 percent of his passes and threw a touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett. 

    Andre Brown rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns in his first NFL start to give the Giants the balance that they needed.

    The Panthers couldn't stop the run or get pressure on Manning, and that combination ensured that the Giants would have no problem moving the ball.

    Fourth Quarter- F 

    When the Giants took the ball for the first time in the fourth quarter, the Panthers were down 19 points. That isn't exactly a good position for a defense that struggles mightily against the run.

    Giants receiver Ramses Barden caught more passes against the Panthers than he did all of last season. While it wasn't a surprise to see the Giants target him due to the absence of Hakeem Nicks, it was a surprise to see Barden dominate the Panthers for four quarters.

    It became clear that the Panthers defense became frustrated and it boiled over to a personal foul penalty being called for a chippy hit. 

    When Andre Brown found the end zone with 9:40 left in the fourth quarter, it essentially iced the game for the Giants.

    Up 33-7, the Giants brought in David Carr to relieve Eli Manning, who was impeccable. 

    Third Quarter- C+ 

    The Panthers defense opened up the second half by forcing the Giants offense to go three-and-out after Joe Adams fumbled the ball on the kick off return. 

    While it was encouraging to see the defense make their first stand of the night, that won't matter unless the offense gets something going in the second half.

    The defense has been reacting to what Eli Manning has been doing all night and he is picking them apart without much resistance. Until the Panthers force Manning to make decisions before he is ready, their secondary will continue to get torched.

    Frank Alexander finally came through with a sack to prove that the Panthers could indeed touch Manning, who has been floating on air thus far.

    The defense held the Giants to a pair of field goals in the third frame.  

    Second Quarter- F 

    The Giants are dominating the Panthers on the ground and through the air. If the Panthers can't stop Andre Brown, then Eli Manning will have no problem shredding a defense that will be forced to respect the run game.

    Manning has had a clean pocket on almost every one of his drop backs. Not surprisingly, Eli has only thrown six incompletions and can do no wrong against the Panthers secondary. 

    The Panthers need to make the Giants one-dimensional in order to stop them, and thus far Brown is having a career night.  

    The Giants scored 17 points in the first 18 minutes, as the Panthers defense was absolutely horrendous.

    Carolina's defense is being embarrassed by the Giants through two quarters. In fact, the Panthers are having a hard time stopping the G-Men without the aid of penalties.

    The Giants scored points on each of their first four possessions and have built a commanding lead.   

    First Quarter- D 

    The New York Giants are without Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks and David Diehl in tonight's game.

    Without Diehl in at right tackle, the Panthers should focus on pressuring Shaun Locklear on the right side. 

    Midway through the first drive, it is clear that Manning will tough to stop when he is given time to progress through his reads. 

    Jon Beason had Andre Brown essentially wrapped up, but was unable to bring him down and broke a run for 33 yards. The Panthers struggled with their tackling in Week 1, and need to make sure that isn't the case against the Giants tonight. 

    Eli Manning hit Martellus Bennet on a seam route to give the Giants the first touchdown of the game. 

    The Giants had no problem moving the ball on the Panthers on the drive, as they moved the ball 80-yards in just eight plays.

    Charles Johnson got pressure on one play, but other than that, Manning had plenty of time on the rest of his throws. If that continues, Cam Newton and the offense will have to score a lot of points in order to keep the game close.

    Luke Kuechly is all over the place tonight, as he racked up three tackles on the Giants second drive, including one for a loss. 

    In the first quarter, Manning is settling for short passes that the Panthers are giving him. Until Carolina can get pressure on him, their secondary will suffer. 

    The Giants went 2-3 on third down in the first quarter, with Captain Munnerlyn knocking down a pass from Manning that was intended for Victor Cruz.

    The Panther defense needs the offense to sustain a drive, because they aren't having much luck slowing down Manning and the Giants offense.

    Andre Brown ran the ball seven times for 77-yards in the first quarter, and he looks more like Maurice Jones-Drew than anyone else.

    The Giants offense dominated the first quarter.  

Special Teams- F

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    Overall Game Grade- F

    Joe Adams fumbled the ball twice in the return game. That is about all that happened on special teams, as the Panthers were completely dominated in the other two facets of the game. 

    Fourth Quarter- F

    To add insult to injury, Joe Adams muffed a punt, marking his second miscue on special teams of the night. 

    Third Quarter- F 

    The offense and defense were horrible in the first half, but at least the special teams was average and ordinary.

    To open the third quarter, Joe Adams fumbled on the kick off return, giving the Giants premium field position.  The fumble brought the special teams unit down into the sewer where the offense and defense currently reside after the fist half.  

    It's been ugly all-around for the Panthers against the Giants in Week 3. 

    Second Quarter- C 

    Nothing notable on the special teams front. 

    Joe Adams finally returned a kick off to the 20-yardline, but he could have stayed in the end zone and gotten the same result. 

    First Quarter- C-  

    While it is way too early to call Joe Adams a disappointment, he hasn't done anything to impress us thus far. 

    He received two kick offs in the end zone during the first quarter and was unable to reach the 20-yardline on either attempt. 

    Brad Nortman couldn't pin the Giants inside their own 20 with his first punt, as bounced into the end zone.  

Coaching- F

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    Overall Game Grade- F

    Ron Rivera and his coaching staff did not get their team ready for tonight's game and that could probably be blamed on the short week. 

    However, that doesn't come close to absolving Rivera from criticism.

    In the first half, the offensive play calling didn't allow the team to get into rhythm and the Giants defensive lien dominated the game.

    Rivera's defense didn't put any pressure on Eli Manning, as the Panthers seemed content to let the Ole Miss alumni tear them apart at his own pace. 

    The Panthers were embarrassed on Thursday night with the entire NFL watching, and that is punishment enough. 

    Fourth Quarter- F

    There isn't much new to say at this point. Ron Rivera and his staff have been thoroughly out coached by Tom Coughlin and the staff of the New York Giants. 

    What was expected to be a competitive game was never close.

    The Panthers weren't ready for a Thursday night game against a quality opponent, and it showed. As a result, Rivera's team was embarrassed during a primetime game. 

    Third Quarter- C

    The Panthers have stopped the bleeding a little, as the outscored the Giants in the third quarter. The problem is that the team is still down by 19 points entering the fourth quarter.

    Rob Chudzinski called a nice series of plays as Carolina finally got into the end zone, but they will need to score very quickly in order to get back into the game in the fourth quarter. 

    Second Quarter- F

    The Panthers defense is offering virtually no resistance and the Giants are dominating the time of possession. 

    The Giants defensive line is dominating Carolina's offensive line. It's almost as if the Panthers coaching staff didn't bother to come up with a scheme to negate the aggressiveness of the Giants defensive line.

    Ron Rivera is being thoroughly out coached by Tom Coughlin. 

    First Quarter- D 

    On third down in Giant field position, Rob Chudzinski called a quarterback draw in the direction of Jason Pierre-Paul. To no one's surprise, Pierre-Paul took Cam Newton down from behind well before he reached the first down and the Panthers were forced to punt. 

    Eli Manning shredded the Panthers secondary in the first quarter, as he went 9-for-11 for 74-yards and a touchdown. The coaching staff must find a way to get some type of pressure on him or this game isn't going to be close.