Here are seven random thoughts from the Giants' 36-7 thrashing of the home-standing Panthers on Thursday night.
1. Andre Brown (130 total yards, two TD) deserves a ton of credit for patiently and powerfully dissecting the Panthers' defense. But let's keep this in mind: Brown's star turn over the last six days (220 total yards, three TD in two games) has been the result of Ahmad Bradshaw tweaking his neck and rookie tailback David Wilson residing in coach Tom Coughlin's doghouse. There's no guarantee of fantasy success beyond Weeks 4 and 5.
2. It took 19 professional games to happen, but Panthers QB Cam Newton (248 total yards, one TD, three interception) finally played like a rookie. When he wasn't throwing high balls across the middle, or into double coverages, Newton endured awkward exchanges with his running backs when operating out of zone read-option sets. Simply put, the whole debacle was hard to watch.
3. This may not have been Martellus Bennett's first rodeo in the scope of scoring in back-to-back-to-back games (he accomplished the feat in 2008), but this is easily the most prolific stretch of his career. Against Carolina, Bennett rolled for six catches, 73 yards and one touchdown—maximizing his seven targets on the night. And in three short games, Bennett has already made a case for being a top-10 tight end from this point forward (regardless of scoring).
4. It would have been nice for Eli Manning (293 total yards, one TD) to scratch out one more touchdown for the Giants. When you attempt 35 passes and register only eight incompletions, it's fair to assume 300 yards and/or two touchdowns. But then again, Eli may have exhausted all of his bonus fantasy mojo against the Bucs last week (510 yards passing, three TD).
5. I don't know what to make of Ramses Barden's breakout performance on Thursday. Yes, he carved up the Panthers secondary for nine catches and 138 yards (10 targets), but these same numbers would have been earmarked for Hakeem Nicks (foot injury), if he had suited up against Carolina. And with 10 days off before the Giants' Week 4 clash with the Eagles, I fully expect Nicks to reclaim his spot in the New York lineup, thus bumping Barden to fourth-option status (behind Nicks, Bennett and Victor Cruz).
6. It's hard to complain about DeAngelo Williams' 73 total yards (50 rushing) on just 13 touches. With Jonathan Stewart sidelined with a sore ankle, Williams seemingly had everything set up for a monster night of 120 total yards and one touchdown. But alas, it didn't happen.
7. Greg Olsen's rock-solid night of seven catches, 14 targets and 98 yards was his best garbage-time output of the Cam Newton era. And from a receiving-yards standpoint, it was the signature outing of his six-year NFL career. Does this guarantee Olsen top-10 positional status from this point forward? As long as Stewart and Williams are on the field and Newton isn't melting down on national TV...my safe answer would be, "Uh, no."
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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