Carolina came into the game with a young aggressive defense, and a lot of question marks across the board. The offense and special teams during the four game preseason was terrible and hard to watch.
Here is how I grade the positions for the first game of the season. Remember this is all based on my opinion of the game of how I seen it:
PASSING ATTACK: For most of the game, Carolina QB Matt Moore looked like a lost puppy, making erratic throws and terrible decisions. Moore completed 14-33 passes for 182 yards with 1 TD and 3 int's. Moore's first int. came on a deep pass to the end zone with five Giant defenders swallowing the lone receiver for Carolina. Moore's QB rating of 32.6 says it all in his 2010 debut as starting QB. One of the many question marks for this team in training camp was who could separate themselves as the no.2 WR for this team, and it is still a question mark. Smith finished with 5 receptions for 75 yards and a TD catch just before halftime. LaFell and Jarrett never made too much of an impact during this game. The offensive line gave up four sacks. GRADE: D
RUSHING ATTACK: So much has changed in a year when Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart ran all over New York for 206 yards. Carolina rushed for just 89 yards on 24 yards (3.7 average) and had only 6 yards on six carries in the second half. Panther RB DeAngelo Williams finished the game with 62 yards on 16 carries. Williams in my opinion is a top 5 RB and even down by two TD's Carolina never should have abandoned the run so early. GRADE: C
PASS DEFENSE: In my opinion, the worst of the bunch. Gamble, Marshall, and Godfrey looked scared to death and played terrible. This group was badly missing safety Chris Harris, who was traded to Chicago in the off-season for a backup linebacker. Hakeem Nicks had a field day catching three TD's for the Giants. All three Manning int's came on passes that were dropped and batted into the air. Manning saw some pressure from Carolina's front seven, but not enough to make much of a difference. GRADE: D
RUN DEFENSE: New York struggled terribly in the first half running the football, but got it fixed at halftime and ran wildly against Carolina in the second half. Ahmad Bradshaw finished with 76 yards on 20 carries and a TD, and Brandon Jacobs ran for 44 yards on just 12 carries. If there was any true bright spot for this defense against the run, it was Carolina MLB Dan Connor who finished with 10 tackles and was flying around the field. GRADE C+
SPECIAL TEAMS: In my opinion, the most improved group from training camp. Carolina had great field position for most of the game, thanks in part to some big returns from Mike Goodson. Jordan Pugh, and Captain Munnerlyn added some good returns as well. John Kasay was on target all day making all three field goal attempts, including a 52 yarder. There was however a bad snap during a punt which was devastating. GRADE: B
COACHING: In my opinion the offensive play calling was miserable at best. Very predictable on first down. In the second half, Carolina completely abandoned the run, only down by 15. Coach Coughlin made the proper adjustments at halftime to regain momentum after the Smith TD catch before the half. I felt the defensive game plan was predictable as well, not enough blitzes to get Eli uncomfortable. GRADE: D
FINAL OUTLOOK: I believe this team lost this game weeks ago when they decided to be so conservative in the preseason. They didn't look for any rhythm in those four games on offense, and it has now carried over into the regular season. Almost the same outlook as the 2009 season opener, when Carolina went 0-4 in preseason play. We'll soon find out if they can recover in time for a post season run.