Collectively, the Giants had many of the same problems as they've had going back to the preseason, some of which included:
- More turnovers, including quarterback Eli Manning's eighth interception of the young season and a lost fumble by receiver Louis Murphy Jr.
- A lackluster pass rush that resulted in just one sack and one hit against Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
- The continued struggles of the running game, which gained 30 of its 60 total rushing yards during fourth-quarter garbage time.
- A 25 percent conversion rate (3-of-12) on third down.
In addition to the above, the Giants offensive line gave up an alarming seven sacks, six of them in the first half, while receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz were held to just three receptions for 25 yards—all of the catches and yards by Cruz.
It doesn't get any uglier than this week, and while there were a very few number of bright spots, the whole team right on down to the coaching staff deserves a big fat "F" for once again failing to transfer their "good week" of practice that they claim to have had to the playing field.
Let's look at each of the primary players' contributions to this week's debacle.
Statistics and historical facts courtesy of the New York Giants public relations department unless otherwise noted.
Eli Manning: Incomplete
It's hard to grade a quarterback who was sacked seven times (including six times in the first half), and who was hit another 10 times behind an offensive line that has seen better days.
Give Manning credit for bouncing up time after time and trying to battle. Also give him credit for trying to make plays in the first half, during which his 14 rushing yards were more than the three gained by the running back trio of David Wilson, Brandon Jacobs and Da'Rel Scott.
Manning increased his season interception total to eight, though to be fair, his receivers didn't do such a great job of separating against the Panthers' "make-shift" defensive secondary.
Any way you slice it, the passing game, led by Manning, was well below its NFL-best 390.5 net passing yards per game prior to Week 3’s action. The Giants' 90 net passing yards was their lowest total since they passed for 49 yards against Miami in London on Oct. 28, 2007.
David Wilson: B-
The good news is that Wilson’s ball security was impeccable.
However, his stat line was hit hard thanks to the bumbling and stumbling of his blockers, who cost him 31 yards and a rushing touchdown thanks to two offensive holding penalties, one each by left tackle Will Beatty and center David Baas.
Wilson did manage to get 30 rushing yards in garbage time, but all together, five of his 11 rushing attempts went for zero or negative yardage.
Wilson also cost his team five yards on a foolish first-quarter, delay-of-game penalty that turned a second-and-14 into a third-and-23. The penalty could have been avoided had Wilson simply handed the ball back to the official.
Brandon Jacobs: D
The big guy was only given three carries this week, which resulted in two yards for a 0.7 yards-per-carry average.
While the run-blocking was as poor as ever, Jacobs was also unable to outrun the Panthers defense on an outside rush that went for no gain.
Da'Rel Scott: Incomplete
Entering the game in the fourth quarter with the Panthers firmly in control, Scott had one rush for five yards and two receptions (out of three targets) for 17 yards in garbage time.
Henry Hynoski (FB): Incomplete
The third-year fullback worked so hard to come back on time from knee surgery and started to look like he was rounding back into his 2012 form.
However, he fractured his left shoulder on his lone pass reception of the game and was awaiting an MRI to determine if he sustained any cartilage damage.
Hakeem Nicks: C+
Playing in front of his home crowd, the Giants' No. 1 receiver, who was excused from Friday's practice because of personal reasons, was targeted just one time, failing to come up with the reception.
It's really hard to put this one on Nicks, who ran the deep routes that simply weren’t there for the taking.
As the game wore on, the Panthers started to play more of a loose zone, yet Nicks still couldn't contribute much to the equation, though to be fair, his quarterback was under duress for much of the game, which prevented the deep pass.
It’s probably unfair to assign a grade to Nicks based on what he was asked to do, but that he couldn’t separate is something that can’t be overlooked.
Victor Cruz: B
Cruz, who caught three of the eight passes thrown his way for 25 yards, was covered well by the Panthers' patchwork secondary.
When he did connect with his quarterback, Cruz displayed that elusiveness that fans have come to expect from the receiver.
The problem though was that the Panthers were determined to not let Cruz or any of the Giants receivers for that matter beat them with the deep ball.
Rueben Randle: C-
Randle caught two of the four passes thrown his way, but he had a ball fall right through his hands in the second quarter on a second-and-long that didn't help his team.
Louis Murphy Jr.: D
Murphy didn't get many chances in Week 2 against Denver, a result of how the game flow went. That trend continued this week, though he did get a chance to come in for a few snaps when Randle suffered a rib injury.
Murphy proceeded to have a costly fourth-quarter fumble on his 43 that was recovered by the Panthers, who ran off an 11-play drive that resulted in the ball being turned over on downs.
Brandon Myers: C
What was particularly frustrating about Myers' performance was that the Panthers safeties were deep for most of the game, leaving the underneath seams open.
Myers, for whatever the reason, couldn't take advantage of that until the third quarter, as it looked like he was denied several opportunities for a free release by the Panthers defense.
He finished with three receptions for 33 yards, tied for the team lead in catches with receiver Victor Cruz.
Where Myers did make a little bit of an impact was with some of his blocks on the edge, in which he battled hard against his man, staying with him long enough to be effective.
Bear Pascoe: D
Used primarily as a blocker, he did have two passes thrown his way from the fullback spot, where he moved after starter Henry Hynoski left the game with a shoulder injury. Pascoe succeeded in catching only one of these pass attempts for two yards.
In what was an atrocious performance by the Giants offensive line, especially in the pass blocking aspect, the line gave up seven sacks for 45 yards that, according to the Giants public relations department, is the most allowed by the Giants since Sept. 17, 2006, when they gave up eight sacks in an overtime victory in Philadelphia.
Will Beatty: F
The normally reliable Beatty had one of his worst games as a pro, drawing two holding penalties as he was simply manhandled at the point of attack. One of his penalties happened to come on a five-yard sack, which was declined.
The second one was more backbreaking in that it wiped out David Wilson's 17-yard touchdown run, which completely changed the complexion of a scoring drive that ended up with zero points.
Beatty also contributed to the sack fest as the entire offensive line had no answers for the Carolina defense. He was beaten so many times in both pass- and run-blocking that it was almost surprising that the coaches didn't remove him from the game.
Kevin Boothe: C
The best of an otherwise poor performing bunch, which probably isn't saying much, Boothe actually held up well to the pressure of the Panthers' defensive front. However, the coaches again asked him to execute a long pull, which he was unable to accomplish because it’s not a strength in his performance.
David Baas: F
Baas continues to struggle to hold his ground up in the middle, causing one to wonder if his knee still isn't right or if he's just not a good fit for the center position. In addition to being pushed around out there, Baas was flagged for a holding penalty that wiped out a 14-yard run by David Wilson.
He also gave up a few inside pressures on the pass block, this a result of failing to pick up a few stunts which took away any space Manning might have otherwise used to step into his throws.
Baas is simply not getting any movements in his drive blocks, and what's even more concerning is how uncoordinated the line's effort appears to be, a task that is supposed to be taken care of by the center and his line calls.
Chris Snee: F
On a day in which the offensive line had no answers, count Snee in the mix as allowing the Panthers to push him around at will.
This one-time solid all-around guard is clearly a shell of his Pro Bowl self, perhaps a result of his surgically repaired hip still not being quite tight. He was also asked to execute some pulls, despite the fact that he just doesn't move as well as he did in his prime.
Justin Pugh: C
The rookie had his struggles against defensive end Charles Johnson, but give credit to the young man for never quitting. As for the sacks that appeared to come from Pugh's side, it looked like those were more a result of Manning trying to step away from inside pressures, a process that in doing so he stepped into the area where Pugh was battling his man.
Jason Pierre-Paul: C-
Making his first start this season, Pierre-Paul did well against the run but wasn't of much help in generating a pass rush.
Pierre-Paul still looks as though he's still trying to get his feet back underneath him, as he's not flying around the way he has in the past.
He also overreacted to several play fakes, which the Panthers took advantage of by attacking his side.
Justin Tuck: D
Save for a three-yard tackle for a loss on a first-quarter screen, there wasn't much from the Giants defensive co-captain, whose pass rush has disappeared.
Tuck appears to be healthy, but the fact that opposing offenses are focusing on throwing the ball away quicker seems to have completely stymied the Giants' pass rush.
Mathias Kiwanuka: B
Other than the goal-line play in which his lost contain opened a running lane for a two-yard touchdown by fullback Mike Tolbert, Kiwanuka was probably the best of the defensive ends this week as far as making several smaller plays, including recording the Giants' lone sack of the game.
Cullen Jenkins: C
Other than helping to stop a screen play for a tackle and lost yardage, Jenkins had a quiet game.
Linval Joseph: A
Joseph was solid against the run, finishing with eight tackles (five solo), one behind team leader Ryan Mundy. Two of Joseph's tackles went for negative yardage. He also did a nice job of pushing the pocket.
Keith Rivers: C-
If there is a player in this unit whose inconsistency is maddening, Rivers would be the guy. When he's on, there's no mistaking the first-round talent that he has.
When he's off, such as what happened when he couldn't shed the block of tight end Greg Olsen on a 27-yard run around the edge, he's frustrating to watch.
If and when Rivers ever puts it all together, he's going to be scary-good. However, time is running out as he's in a one-year "show me" contract, and he'll need to start making some plays to prove he belongs.
Mark Herzlich: C+
Herzlich turned in a solid day's work that included some effective red-zone tackles and a nice blitz up the gut. Where he continues to lack, and probably always will, is in coverage, where he just cannot cover sideline to sideline due to having pedestrian foot speed.
Spencer Paysinger: B+
The best of the linebackers this week, Paysinger made numerous correct reads. The problem, though, is that he doesn't always win his physical battles against running backs, who shed his tackle attempts far too easily to gain additional yards.
Jacquian Williams: D
Serving as the spy on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, Williams committed a handful of mental gaffes, such as taking poor angles and passively attacking Newton.
Williams has good speed and athleticism, but he can be counted on for at least two or three mental lapses per game, which has to be frustrating for the coaches to witness.
Prince Amukamara: B+
One of the few bright spots for the Giants’ defense, Amukamara did a nice job of helping to hold Panthers receiver Steve Smith to three catches for 40 yards.
One play in particular which was highlight-reel worthy was a late second-quarter pass in which Smith looked to separate from Amukamara. The young cornerback closed ground and managed to knock the pass away.
Amukamara didn't get much action in the second half as the Panthers stayed away from him and then went to the running game to close out the game.
Aaron Ross: C-
With the Panthers trying to take advantage of Ross, who was starting in place of the injured Corey Webster, the veteran corner responded with a tale of two halves.
In the first half, Ross was solid, playing the receivers tighter instead of allowing too much cushion. This resulted in a couple of pass breakups.
Ross also picked off quarterback Cam Newton early in the second quarter for his first interception since Nov. 20, 2011, when he picked off Philadelphia’s Vince Young in MetLife Stadium.
In the second half, however, Ross was beaten for two touchdowns, the first by Brandon LaFell early in the third quarter, and the second by Ted Ginn Jr. in the fourth quarter.
Terrell Thomas: C
Thomas wasn't pressed into action too much in the first half, but he was the guilty party who gave up the touchdown reception to receiver Brandon LaFell near the end of the second quarter.
Antrel Rolle: B
Rolle had a relatively quiet afternoon, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the Panthers didn't try to attack the Giants defense too much with the deep ball.
Credit Rolle from stopping receiver Ted Ginn Jr. on an end-around when the receiver looked to have daylight in front of him once he received the ball. Rolle very alertly came up and stopped Ginn for just a 10-yard gain.
Ryan Mundy: C+
Mundy is one of the better tacklers on the Giants defense, but as far as coverage goes, he had a mixed showing.
The good included his textbook shoulder tackle against receiver Brandon LaFell on a play in which the officials initially threw a flag but then picked it up.
Mundy also stopped tight end Greg Olsen short by one yard in the first quarter to bring up a fourth down-and-one. Unfortunately, for the Giants, they couldn't stop the conversion.
Punter Steve Weatherford: C
Weatherford rebounded from last week’s poor performance, doing a decent job of keeping the ball away from Ted Ginn Jr.
However, Weatherford still isn't quite where he needs to be, as he continues to have issues combining height with direction.
Fortunately, for the Giants, the punt coverage was much better this week; however, it still wasn't one of Weatherford's better showings.
Kicker Josh Brown: D
A place-kicker needs to be reliable inside the 40, and Brown came up woefully short on his lone field goal attempt this week, hooking a 38-yard attempt wide left.
Punt Returner Rueben Randle: D
The good news is that Randle's ball security was impeccable on his only opportunity to return a punt.
The bad news is that Randle seems to struggle with his feel for how his protection is playing out to where he rarely is able to muster up any sort of positive return.
Kickoff Returner David Wilson: D
Wilson didn't have many opportunities to return a kickoff, but the one he did try returning was from deep in his end zone, coming at a point in the game where he might have been better off taking a knee for the touchback rather than potentially risking an injury.
That he only got the ball out to the 15-yard line made his decision to bring the ball out even more curious.