The Panthers are disappointed that the road to the Super Bowl will not be running through Charlotte, NC but instead will travel through East Rutherford, NJ. The Panthers did have some good new this weekend though as they secured a playoff birth when Dallas lost.
FUN FACT: With Tampa Bay’s loss to San Diego, the Panthers are the only NFL team with an unbeaten record at home (8-0).
Carolina can clinch the NFC South and the No. 2 seed in the NFC with a win at New Orleans next weekend. Despite the disappointing Pro Bowl snub, DeAngelo Williams responded by tying his own team record with four touchdown runs against the Giants to take the NFL lead in with 20 overall, including 18 on the ground.
FUN FACT: DeAngelo Williams has a Panthers' single-season record 20 touchdowns.
This battle was destined not to disappoint. In the first quarter the Giants scored first with a John Carney 32-yard field goal. Carolina responded with a 13-yard rush from DeAngelo Williams.
The second quarter was back and forth with a Giants two yard run from Brandon Jacobs. Carolina's DeAngelo Williams had a pair of TD runs for five yard and one yard respectively. New York's John Carney nailed a 35-yard field goal to inch closer before the half, 13-21.
The second half was a different story all together. It was very quiet in the third quarter with the only score coming from the Giant's four yard TD pass from Eli Manning to Kevin Boss.
There were only two touchdowns scored in the fourth quarter, one from each team. DeAngelo Williams 30-yard for Carolina and Brandon Jacobs for New York with a one yard rush. The difference making was Eli Manning's Two-Point Conversion Pass To Domenik Hixon to tie the game 28-28 sending it into overtime.
Overtime was a back and fourth battle resulting in the Giants Brandon Jacobs scoring a two yard rush to win the game 34-28.
FUN FACT: The Giants rushed for their most yards in a game since 1959.
FUN FACT: New York wrapped up home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
While I was watching the game, I noticed the big difference for Carolina in the second half was that Steve Smith was pretty much a non-factor, failing to register a catch. How can you not use one of your biggest weapons during such an important time. The running game was on but need more from Smith and the Panthers defense.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning commented, "It's great for our fans to be able to play here at Giants Stadium. You never know what the weather is going to be like here. We're used to playing in those cold and windy games and I would like to think we would have the advantage in some of those. I think it will be fun playing the games at home."
Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme said it best for all Panthers fans, "Disappointing would be putting it mildly. The road to the Super Bowl goes through New York. We had a chance. We didn't get it done. We've got to back to work and get ready for New Orleans. Give them credit. They battled back and made the plays they had to. They beat us. That's why this game is so much fun. One is excited. The other is totally devastated. That would be us. I have a lot more anger and despair inside. That is why we play this game, to win. The highs are extremely high and the lows are extremely low.”
Jake Delhomme responded to the wind factor, "The second half was a lot different than the first half. I think the wind picked up tremendously in the second half. In the third quarter we ran some players where we were trying to take some shots down the field, and just the way that wind was blowing, it didn't give us too much of an opportunity. But they had to play in it too. If we are lucky enough to get back here that would be fantastic. That would mean things are going well. But we have to worry about going to New Orleans and clinching the division.”
Panthers Damione Lewis commented about the Panthers defensive performance, “We ended up giving up long plays on defense and allowing them to move down the field and get a touchdown and a two-point conversion. That's where it is on us as a defense. It’s very disappointing, but we’re still in the dance. We just might have to (get to the Super Bowl) a different way then we planned on doing. But sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to but in the end the goal is the same. This was a heavyweight slug fest and they happened to get the best of us tonight.”
Carolina head coach John Fox replied in his postgame press conference, "We're in the playoffs. That was a goal in the season. The team a year ago that won the Super Bowl (the Giants), it wasn't a number one seed. I don't think there's been a team that's won it in awhile (as the first seed). That would have been something. It was something that we had as a priority, but it just wasn't meant to be."
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