Newton, Panthers cruise past Giants

Sep. 24, 2013 @ 03:43 PM

The Carolina Panthers picked up their first win of the young season with a with a 38-0 shutout over Eli Manning and the visiting New York Giants on Sunday in Charlotte.

“It was a good win. It really was,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. “One of the things we talked about was preparation, focusing on the preparation, how important the preparation would be for a game like this. Hats off to our guys.”

Carolina got on the board late in the first quarter when Mike Tolbert scored from one-yard out to cap off a 12-play, 59-yard drive. In the second quarter, kicker Graham Gano drilled an impressive 53-yard field goal to put the Panthers up 10-0.

Later in the quarter, Cam Newton connected with Brandon LaFell from 16 yards out for one of his three touchdown passes of the day. The Panthers headed into the half with a 17-0 advantage.

The big story in the first half was the ferocious Carolina defense. The Panthers limited the Giants to just 18 yards in the first half, while sacking Manning six times in the half, seven for the game. The Panthers also forced three turnovers.

“You don’t even understand how awesome it is to have a middle that can just push the pocket, and the quarterback is just right there once you beat your man,” defensive end Greg Hardy said. “I know I get the credit for the three sacks, but the DBs were covering, the linebackers were fit in, the tackles were inside working their behinds off. Charles (Johnson) was out there rushing. It was a phenomenal team effort.”

While the Panthers defense has been impressive for most of the first three games, the offense has had its struggles. That was until Sunday.

Newton and the Panthers came out firing in the second half. On Carolina’s first possession of the half, Newton and LaFell connected for a second time, this time from 20 yards out. Newton ran one in on his own from three yards away to give the Panthers a commanding 31-0 lead. The Panthers completed a stretch of five straight possessions with a touchdown with a 47-yard strike from Newton to Ted Ginn Jr.

The Panthers will have a Bye week before traveling to Arizona on October 6.