It is always more difficult to do a post game write up after your team loses.
Usually, I have a relatively difficult time finding the right words to describe the day’s events, but coming out of this game I have a quiet confidence in the Panthers. I feel peaceful and completely at ease.
The Giants and Panthers both played this game to win it. Both teams were “all in” from the beginning.
There was an amazingly low amount of penalties on both sides—Panthers 2-14, the Giants 2-10—considering what was at stake in the outcome of this game.
Both teams played a solid 60 minutes of clean, hard hitting football.
Carolina habitually plays poorly in cold weather games. Their all time record at 34 degrees and below stands at 3-7.
The Panthers essentially took Jacobs out of the game and forced the Giants to rely heavily on Eli Manning’s arm and running back Derrick Ward.
Eli Manning had a really good night, 17-of-27, for 181 yards and a touchdown, and no picks; the lone touchdown pass going to tight end Kevin Boss.
Jake Delhomme also had equally good numbers, 11-of-19, for 185 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions.
The Giants offensive line was a little porous as they allowed the Panthers defense to sack Manning three times.
The Panthers offensive line, without big right guard Keydrick Vincent, held strong and didn’t allow the Giants to touch Delhomme at all.
The Panthers offensive line was also able to open some windows and create some gaps for running back DeAngelo Williams, who had 24 carries for 108 yards, four touchdowns, and his longest breakaway run for 30 yards.
The Giants offensive line did running back Derrick Ward right all night too however, as they provided him opportunities to get 15 carries for 215 yards, his longest run gaining 51 yards.
Ironically, even though Ward had the better numbers in the rushing game; it was running back Brandon Jacobs who would carry 24 times for 87 yards, his longest run going for 16 yards, and score three touchdowns; two in regulation, and one to seal the deal in overtime.
Another interesting statistic is that the same amount of rushing yards (301) that the Panthers ran against the Buccaneers on Monday night football, was ran against the Panthers in their loss in overtime Sunday night.
The receiving corps on both teams played effectively and equally well; the Giants had 186 yards receiving, the Panthers 185 yards receiving.
The Panthers should not let this loss get the better of them. They played this game with a lot of heart and intensity.
Carolina went head to head against the best in the NFC, and was the second team to force the Giants into overtime, in which the Giants are 2-0 this season.
I have a distinct feeling that these two teams will go head to head again in a few weeks, in a rematch of Sunday night’s showdown in the bitter cold Meadowlands of East Rutherford, NJ.
As I see it, the Panthers could benefit losing to the Saints, and repeating as the ’03 Cardiac Cats reincarnate as a wild card.
Coming up next week, a very dangerous division rivalry as the Panthers travel to the Big Easy, or as the Falcons may remember, the Big Not-so-Easy.