Panthers Drop Pre-Season Opener To The Giants

David ScercyCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 17: Leger Douzable #78 of the New York Giants deflects the ball out of the hand of Hunter Cantwell #14 of the Carolina Panthers that resulted in an interception and a game-winning touchdown during a preseason NFL game on August 17, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The New York Giants defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-17 Monday night after a bizarre last second touchdown play.

With the score tied at 17, Panther quarterback Hunter Cantwell fumbled the ball on the final play of the game, and Giants defensive end Tommie Hill scooped up the fumble and scored the game winning touchdown as time expired.  

The much anticipated return to the football field for the Carolina Panthers turned out to be nothing more than a lack-luster performance. Other than DeAngelo Williams, it was really hard to find a starter on this team that had a great start to the pre-season.

Jake Delhomme, seven months removed from a six-turnover performance against Arizona, was dreadful in his quest for redemption. Delhomme completed 5 of 9 passes for just 38 yards and had a fumble as well.

Delhomme looked uncomfortable throwing the football, even when the pressure wasn't too heavy.

DeAngelo Williams faced the Giants 8 and 9 man defensive fronts, but still managed 29 yds. on just 6 carries.

The Giants starting offense and defense clearly dominated the Panthers starters. They were more physical on both sides of the line, and the Panthers looked over-matched.

New York's running back duo Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw combined for 9 carries, 66 yards and a T.D.

Carolina played a base cover two defense the entire first quarter and never really mounted any line of scrimmage pressure. There were no blitz schemes used in any attempt to gain control of the line.

After most starters found their way to the bench for the night, New York owned a 14-2 lead. The only points for Carolina in the first half came after a blocked punt by Panthers linebacker James Anderson resulting in a safety for Carolina as the ball was kicked out of the back of the end zone.

Despite the miserable performance of the starters, Carolina had some heroics from relative unknowns who played well enough to mount a comeback for the Panthers.

Panther rookie running back Mike Goodson entertained with blazing speed. Despite fumbling the ball twice, Goodson had 6 carries for 43 yards and a T.D.

Carolina linebackers Dan Conner and Jeremy Leman flew all over the field on defense in the second half combining for 16 tackles.

Rookie defensive end Everette Brown split a double team and recorded a solo sack just moments after the Monday Night announcing cast commented on how small he was.

Panthers wide receiver Jason Cherry caught 2 passes for 34 yards and the game tying T.D.

On the game tying drive late in the fourth quarter with the Giants leading by 8, Carolina quarterback Hunter Cantwell passed for 67 yards and ran for 21 yards eventually throwing a T.D. pass to Cherry to get within two.

Cantwell threw a strike to Andrew Davie converting the two-point conversion tying the game with :57 left on the game clock.

After a New York three-and-out, Carolina got the ball back at the Panthers' 18 yard line with :10 seconds left and instead of taking the knee to play the overtime period, they lined up for one more play.

Cantwell dropped back to pass but his arm was hit by Giants defenseman Leger Douzable and the ball came free.

Giants defensive end Tommie Hill recovered the fumble and scored the game winner as time expired.

Carolina (0-1) faces Miami (1-0) next Sat. night at 7:30 PM in Land Shark Stadium.