The Giants came into Sunday’s matchup with the Panthers desperately wanting to keep turnovers to a minimum, but after a 38-0 thumping, they showed turnovers aren’t the only problem.
New York (0-3) continued its winless stretch to start the season, as they were thoroughly outplayed in all facets of the game. Giants quarterback Eli Manning (12-of-23 for 119 yards, no touchdowns and one interception) was bested by Panthers passer Cam Newton (15-of-27 for 223 yards, three touchdowns and one interception). David Wilson (39 yards on 11 carries) was trounced by DeAngelo Williams (120 yards on 23 carries). And even Big Blue’s vaunted receiving corps of Victor Cruz (three catches for just 25 yards), Hakeem Nicks (held without a reception) and Rueben Randle (two catches for 40 yards), were outplayed by the likes of Ted Ginn, Jr. (three catches, 71 yards and a touchdown) and Brandon LaFell (three catches, 53 yards and two scores).
The Panthers took it to Big Blue, as they registered their first shutout since 2008, a stretch that spanned 77 games.
What we learned ...
1. Under siege
Manning was under siege from the opening whistle, as he was sacked six times in the first half alone. The turnover-prone quarterback wasn’t careless with the ball, but he never really had time. He was sacked seven times in total. The offensive line has struggled since the early days of training camp with both injuries and inconsistencies and Sunday was no different, as Manning ended up mercifully being yanked in the waning minutes.
2. Slowing things down
The slow start destroyed the Giants, as they immediately fell into a quick 7-0 hole, en route to a 17-0 deficit at the half. Such was the Giants’ ineptness that they could only muster 18 net passing yards and the Panthers held a 13-2 advantage on first downs before the break. Manning couldn’t perform his legendary heroics as he got off to a sluggish start (6-of-9 for 37 yards) and showed why the Giants’ rushing attack needs an overhaul. He was actually the team’s leading rusher in the first half with one carry for 14 yards. Starting running back David Wilson was stymied (minus-2 yards on a team-high six carries in the first half).
3. On the hot seat?
The Giants have been a resilient bunch since head coach Tom Coughlin came aboard 10 seasons ago. But after this 0-3 start, they’ll need to take it to another level. Big Blue hasn’t started a season 0-3 since the 1996 season, and never before under Coughlin’s watch. The uphill climb is even more daunting when considering that only five teams have made the playoffs after starting the season 0-3, with the last time being the 1998 Bills. And according to the Elias Sports Bureau, since the current playoff format was adopted in 1990, 115 NFL have teams started 0-3 — with only three advancing to the postseason (the 1992 Chargers, the 1995 Lions and the 1998 Bills).
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.