Target CB Norman? Manning goes from diplomat to dagger
During a conference call on Tuesday, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was asked if he might target Panthers rookie cornerback Josh Norman.
Manning diplomatically replied it was a possibility.
It became a reality as the Giants repeatedly went after Norman, a fifth-round draft pick from Coastal Carolina, in a 36-7 victory over the Carolina Panthers.
It started with a 12-yard completion from Manning to speedy Victor Cruz on the Giants first play from scrimmage and it continued through the first half. With the defensive front unable to put heavy pressure on Manning, the Panthers secondary struggled to contain the New York receivers.
There was a bit of good news for Norman. He led the team with nine first-half tackles, though many were from behind.
SIDELINED: The Panthers inactives were quarterback Jimmy Clausen, running back Jonathan Stewart, safety Colin Jones, linebacker Thomas Davis, guard Mike Pollak, tackle Byron Bell and defensive tackle Sione Fua.
The Giants inactives were cornerback Michael Coe, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, tackle David Diehl, defensive end Adewale Ojomo, tight end Adrien Robinson, wide receiver Dominik Hixon and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks.
TOUGH NIGHT: It wasnt a good night for rookie Joe Adams, who has replaced Kealoha Pilares as the Panthers kickoff return man.
The Panthers started at the 18, 18, 21 and 20 after Giants scores in the first half. Then Adams lost a fumble on the opening kickoff in the second half, giving New York possession at the Carolina 19. That led to a field goal that put the Giants ahead 23-0.
It didnt improve.
Fielding a punt in the fourth quarter, Adams fumbled again. The good news is the apparent Giants touchdown was nullified by a rule prohibiting muffed punts to be advanced.
BAD START: For the third straight game, the Panthers allowed their opponent to take the opening kickoff and march it 80 yards for a touchdown. Its a problem without an answer at this point. Weve got to come out faster, linebacker Luke Kuechly said. We cant wait for something to happen. We have to set the tempo for how we want to play the game. Weve got to build momentum early by not letting them score. Any perceived carryover from the New Orleans victory evaporated early. We had a big high Sunday and having this great opportunity in prime time, to not come out and take care of business, thats very frustrating, Thomas Keiser said.
• Its gotta be the shoes, money.
Cam Newton debuted some lemon-lime colored shoes Thursday night in pre-game warmups that may not have earned a fine from the NFL but probably warranted one from GQ. Its after Labor Day. No one wears lemon-lime colored shoes this time of year. Newton went back to more traditional blue shoes for the game.
• If you like the Panthers blue jerseys and they may be the most popular among fans youve seen them for the last time this season unless the Panthers make the playoffs. They wear their blue jerseys twice a year once on the road, once at home and theyve done both already.
• It was a busy Thursday for Charlotte swimmer Ricky Berens. First, he unretired as a competitive swimmer and, second, he attended the Panthers-Giants game with Olympic runner Manteo Mitchell and swim coach Dave Marsh.
Both Berens and Mitchell were wearing flashy medallions.
• Evidently fans heeded the suggestion to arrive early to get through security lines entering the stadium. The stadium wasnt full at kickoff because hundreds were still in line to get in but there were thousands more in their seats at kickoff compared to the Sunday game against New Orleans.
• Its become tradition this season for the Panthers to surrender a 80-yard touchdown pass on the opening possession of the game. Theyre three for three this season. They might to want think about winning the coin toss and taking the ball to change things up.
• Offensive lineman Garry Williams should get credit for a pass broken up for denying New Yorks Jason Pierre-Paul an interception deep in Panthers territory after the Giants star deflected a Cam Newton pass and was ready to grab it until Williams prevented it.
By the numbers
0 Times in quarterback Cam Newtons 19 starts the Panthers have won when he throws an interception. Carolina is 0-11 in such games.
5 Field goals by Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes, to go with the four he had in Week 2 against Tampa Bay.
7 Number of consecutive losses to the defending Super Bowl champs by the Panthers.
110.2 Giants quarterback Eli Mannings quarterback rating, compared with Newtons 40.6.
98 Receiving yards for Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, his high as a Panther.
138 Receiving yards for Giants wide receiver Ramses Barden, many of them against Panthers rookie Josh Norman.
• We got beat by a better football team. They outcoached us and outplayed us. Thats the bottom line. Panthers coach Ron Rivera
• Who wants to support something that puts on a performance of embarrassment. Thats what that was tonight. Newton, on what fans should think
• Slow start. Slow middle. Slow finish. We werent ourselves today. Defensive end Greg Hardy
• We werent wrapping up and tackling when we got our hands on them. Thats where we were bleeding yardage. Defensive end Thomas Keiser
• The way we played last week, I thought would lead to something. It didnt. Wide receiver Brandon LaFell
Weve got to play consistently. You cant get too high for one game and not come back with the same energy the next. Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly