In what was their third-worst loss in their franchise history, the Giants were completely outplayed and outcoached in every phase of the game.
Quarterback Eli Manning was sacked seven times, six times in the game's first 30 minutes, while his counterpart, Cam Newton, threw for three touchdowns and added another one on the ground in a virtually flawless effort that yielded the Panthers' first win of the 2013 season.
The Giants, who at the start of the season aspired to become the first team in the Super Bowl era to play in the sport's biggest game hosted in their home stadium, are 0-3 for the first time since 1996, when they finished 6-10.
The Associated Press noted that since 1978, there have been just five teams (out of 161) that have recovered from a 0-3 start to make the playoffs.
The Chiefs helped make head coach Andy Reid’s return to the City of Brotherly Love a pleasant one thanks to four forced turnovers and six sacks of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who limped off the field late in the fourth quarter following the final sack.
The Chiefs, who have now won more games than they did all of last season, also managed to get a first-quarter 38-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Eric Berry against Vick, whose rough night concluded with him going 13 of 30 for 201 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for a 49.4 passer rating.
The Lions defeated the Redskins on the road for the first time since 1939 thanks to a pair of fourth-quarter Redskin turnovers and a strong performance from quarterback Matthew Stafford, who threw for 385 yards, and 100-yard receiving performances from receivers Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson.
The Lions improved to 2-1, while the Redskins are still looking for their first win of the 2013 regular season.
The Rams defense had no answers for the Cowboys' rushing attack, which saw DeMarco Murray rush for 175 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown. It was Murray's first 100-yard rushing effort in more than a year.
Quarterback Tony Romo, who completed 17 of 24 passes for 210 yards, threw for three touchdown passes to three different receivers, including tight end Gavin Escobar and receivers Dez Bryant and Dwayne Harris.
The Giants will face old friend Andy Reid and his high-flying Chiefs, who, of course, topped the Eagles 26-16. As the former head coach of the Eagles, Reid is 17-14 against the Giants (including postseason), whom he used to face twice in the NFC East. He has also won eight of his last 10 contests against New York.
The Dallas Cowboys will visit the San Diego Chargers, who lost to Tennessee 20-17. Philadelphia will drop in on the Denver Broncos, who met the Oakland Raiders on Monday night. The Redskins will try to get their first win against the Raiders.
Webster was a surprise scratch this week after developing soreness relating to a hip flexor issue that kept him out of practice last Thursday and Friday. Aaron Ross was given the start in his place, while Webster's streak of 34 consecutive regular-season starts, the team's third-longest streak behind quarterback Eli Manning (138) and safety Antrel Rolle (51), ended.
Speaking of Rolle, Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News reported that the Giants' defensive co-captain is experiencing occasional soreness in the same foot in which he suffered a sprained ankle this summer.
Robinson, who had been progressing with his foot injury suffered in the Giants’ preseason finale against New England on Aug. 29, had reportedly suffered a setback in Wednesday's practice, according to Conor Orr of the Star-Ledger. Robinson had been listed as limited during Wednesday's practice only to be returned to inactivity for Thursday and Friday's practices.
Of the new injuries, the ones that are probably most concerning are those suffered by Hynoski and Baas. Hynoski was seen with his left arm in a sling after the Giants’ loss to Carolina. He was announced as having a fractured shoulder.
Hynoski, who fought his way back from knee surgery, could be done for the season depending on the severity of the injury, especially if there was any cartilage or ligament damage done.
Baas, who underwent multiple surgeries in the offseason, developed a neck issue for which he had an MRI on Monday, according to a report from Conor Orr of the Star-Ledger. Orr also reported that Snee was sent for an MRI on the hip he had surgically repaired in February.
Taylor, who had been seen with his left arm in a sling following Sunday’s game, told reporters on Monday that he’s been getting treatment for his injury. No longer in a sling, Taylor expressed confidence that he would be ready for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.
What Must Improve
1. The Offensive Line
The Giants' offensive line continues to suffer breakdowns in pass protection and in run-blocking. In fact, it was probably nothing short of a miracle that quarterback Eli Manning emerged from the game in one piece considering the beating he took.
Head coach Tom Coughlin did not rule out reshuffling his offensive line this week, noting, "If there is something that we think can do, can help, then I would consider it."
While it doesn't sound as though the Giants might be considering bringing in another offensive lineman, the team might be looking to get David Diehl, who has been recovering from thumb surgery, back on the field. According to the Record's Tara Sullivan, Diehl is being fitted for a special splint for his surgically repaired thumb that would allow him to return ahead of his six-week recovery period.
If Diehl does get on the field, he would probably move into the left guard spot, with Kevin Boothe sliding back over to center if David Baas' neck injury keeps him out of action.
2. The Running Game
Last week the Giants ran for 60 yards, their highest total of the season.
However, that's nowhere near what they were hoping to get, especially from starter David Wilson, who through three games has 75 yards on 25 carries.
The running game probably doesn’t have much of a chance to get better until the blocking in front of it improves. However, there are some things that offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride might be able to try in the meantime to jump-start things and build more confidence in Wilson.
The biggest thing that might help is to get Wilson out in space more, where if he takes a five-yard dink-and-dunk pass, chances are he'll be able to turn that into a 10-yard gain
3. The Pass Rush
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has been unable to find answers to get his pass rush going again. That's a rather disturbing fact considering that the reason for the decline in sacks that the Giants like to give, which is that the opposing quarterback is releasing the ball faster to nullify the rush, is probably not a strategy that's limited exclusively to the Giants' opponents.
One positive to come out of last week is that the Giants apparently believed that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who had been limited in this return from back surgery, was well enough to not only start the game, but also take on more than four dozen snaps against the Panthers.
Still, Pierre-Paul continues to look like a shell of the 2011 version who logged 16.5 sacks. Although he has said that he feels fine, his play continues to be a concern.