Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Giants Team Grades: Week 3 vs. Carolina Panthers

Thursday, September 20 2012
Final Score: New York Giants: 36 Carolina Panthers: 7
Giants Team Grades

The Giants went into Carolina being doubted by a large number of people and left showing them once again that they are not a team to be looked down upon.  Even with injuries to starters Hakeem Nicks, Ahmad Bradshaw and David Diehl and rotation players in Domenik Hixon and Michael Coe, the Giants were still able to pull of a convincing victory against a dynamic Panthers squad.  The grades for the Giants this week would even make an honors student envious.

Passing Game: Grade A
Eli Manning did not duplicate his 510 yard performance he had against Tampa Bay just four days earlier but it was not needed this time around.  Manning was efficient and effect right from the start, opening the game with two completed passes to set the tempo for the Giants offense that was running like a well oiled machine the whole game. 

Manning completed 27 of 35 passes overall and could have done more damage if called upon to do so.  Part of Manning’s success was the play of the offense line; Manning was barely touched, only being sacked once late in the third quarter.

Ramses Barden had a breakout, career night, reeling in nine balls for 138 yards.  The nine catches matches the amount of receptions he had all of last season.  Barden stepped up as he was filling in for the injured Hakeem Nicks.  Martellus Bennett picked up some slack as well, scoring a touchdown for the third game in a row, a first in Giants franchise history for a player in his first three games with the team.

The only negative for the offense was the settling for field goals, as they ended up attempting and knocking through five of them.

Running Game: Grade A
This one is all on Andre Brown.  Making his first career start in front of hundreds of friends and family, Brown dominated the Panthers.  He rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, also adding three receptions for 17 yards. 

Brown is providing a spark to a running game that has been lackluster for more than a season now.  General manager Jerry Reese compared Brown to Derrick Ward, just a bigger version and it shows with the versatility Brown has the spark he is giving the offense just like Ward did in 2008.

Brown finished his runs with toughness and tenacity, evident by the 71 yards he rain for after making contact with a defender.  According to ESPN stats and info that is the most by any Giant player since Brandon Jacobs in 2010 when he ran for 72 yards after contact. 

The offensive line opened up gapping holes for Brown, who trucked right through and dominated the Panthers front seven. The only negative for the Giants rushing game was rookie David Wilson, who only got one carry for -2 yards.

Passing Defense: Grade A
The Giants were able to keep Cam Newton and the Panthers offense off balance all night, never allowing Newton to get into a rhythm and bothering him all night. The Giants were able to get to Newton on two occasions for sacks and intercepted him three times.  He finished the game 16 of 30 for 242 yards.

Steve Smith had only for receptions for 86 yards, most of which came after the game was already in hand.  One thing that sticks out is that Panthers tight end Greg Olsen had seven receptions, but the Giants were able to reduce the big plays and when your targeted at such a high volume, 14 times to be exact, your going to make some catches.

Prince Amukamara, Jayron Hosley and Corey Webster all stepped up for a razor thin Giants secondary.  Keep and eye on the injury report as the week goes on though, as Hosley was forced from the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury and Webster broke a bone in his hand but was able to continue in the game.  Michael Boley also added another interception to his season total, giving him one in every game thus far this season.

Rushing Defense: Grade A
At first, it looked like it was going to be another one of those here we go again type nights for the Giants coaching staff and fans alike.  DeAngelo Williams started the game off strong but overall the Giants run defense stepped up.  They held the dangerous Panthers read option offense to 60 yards on 20 carries. 

Newton was able to find the end zone, but was not the destructive force he is capable of being, as he only gained six yards on six carries.  The Giants came into the game prepared as they did not want to be embarrassed like the Saints defense was by Newton and company in week 2.

Special Teams: Grade A
Lawrence Tynes was outstanding, nailing all five of his field goal attempts, staying perfect on the season.  Tynes made from 47, 49, 30, 36, and 27 yards.  The makes were huge by Tynes because it kept the momentum on the Giants side.  If he had missed any of those field goals, the Panther crowd would have gotten into the game, giving Newton and the Panthers offense something to feed off of as the Giants sucked the life out of the crowd right from the start. 

Weatherford was not used often but when called upon he did his job.  He landed both his punts inside the 20 yard line, averaging 38 yards per punt with a long of 41 yards.

Coaching Staff: Grade A+
The Giants coaching staff did an amazing job in preparing for this week.  Not only were they without Nicks, Bradshaw, Diehl, Hixon and Coe, they also had a short week playing on Thursday night.  Even with so many things up against them, they were still able to get the Giants prepared enough to dominate the younger and seemingly overwhelmed Panthers.

The Giants have played three road games in the last two seasons with less than seven days of rest and are a perfect 3 and 0 in those games, outscoring opponents by 22 points total according to ESPN Stats and Info.  That is a testament to Tom Coughlin and the Giants staff as a whole, as they are able to get their squad prepared in even the most difficult of scenarios.

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