This was one of the worst games in Panthers’ franchise history.
The Panthers came into this game hoping to end a three-game losing streak, and they started out well by jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off the wagon in the second quarter and the Panthers allowed the Giants to take a 5-3 lead into halftime after a putrid performance by Sam Darnold and the rest of the offense. Fortunately, the Giants were playing just as awful as the Panthers were, and the game was still within two points at the midway point.
The third quarter was the same as it has been all year for the Panthers as the offense failed to put together any threat of a drive, and the defense allowed the Giants to extend their lead to nine points at 12-3. Somehow, the fourth quarter was even worse as the Giants continued to score and the Panthers continued to go three-and-out (and also four-and-out). Sam Darnold was benched for PJ Walker, but it didn’t make a difference as the Giants pulled away and held on for a 25-3 win over the hapless Panthers.
I really don’t know where to go from here. There are only so many ways you can describe this team, and all of them are bad. I don’t know if there’s a quick fix to this, but I do know that if the Panthers don’t find a solution fast we’re going to be looking at a long losing streak that will destroy what was once a hopeful season.
The Panthers face the Falcons next weekend, and hopefully we’ll see better results than we saw today, because I’m honestly not sure it can get much worse at this point.
If you’re interested you can read a more in-depth recap, broken down by quarter, below.
The Panthers started the game on offense after the Giants deferred to the second half. The Panthers put together a quality drive — including a key call on fourth-and-1 inside their own territory — to put points on the board thanks to a 45-yard field goal from Zane Gonzalez to jump out to a 3-0 lead with 8:37 left in the quarter.
The Panthers defense gave up 29 yards on their first two plays, but they tightened up and forced the Giants to punt three plays later to get the ball back into the hands of their offense. The Panthers promptly went three-and-out after a brutal drop by Robby Anderson on third-and-9, and Panthers were forced to punt.
The Panthers gave the Giants excellent field position with a shanked punt, and the Giants took advantage of the short field by driving down the field, but failed to convert on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line after Sam Franklin stepped up and made a huge stop to give the Panthers offense control of the ball from their own 3-yard line. The Panthers faced a second-and-long situation as time expired on the quarter with Carolina holding on to a 3-0 lead.
The Panthers continued their drive with a second-and-long play that turned into third-and-long after Chuba Hubbard dropped a pass from Darnold. On third down, Darnold committed intentional grounding in the end zone that gave the Giants a safety to make the score 3-2. The Giants took advantage of the shorter field due to the safety kickoff and Graham Gano hit a 49-yard field goal to give the Giants a 5-3 lead.
The Panthers once again couldn’t get anything going on offense and punted the ball right back to the Giants. The Giants couldn’t get out of their own way with penalties, and Brian Burns took care of business with a sack on third-and-long to give the ball back to the Panthers’ offense. The Panthers had some moderate success driving the ball down the field, but the drive ended when Darnold threw an interception right into the hands of James Bradberry deep in Giants territory.
The Giants couldn’t do anything with the gift interception, and the team traded possessions in the final few minutes to close out the half with the Giants holding onto a 5-3 lead over the Panthers.
The Panthers opened the second half on defense and forced a quick three-and-out that was capped off by a Derrick Brown sack on Daniel Jones. The Panthers started to put something together on their first drive and made it to midfield before the drive fell apart and the Panthers had to punt the ball back to the Giants.
The Panthers defense held their own again and forced another Giants punt, but the offense once again failed to generate anything and had to punt the ball again. The Giants took advantage of the Panthers’ inability to move the ball on offense and drove down the field against an exhausted Panthers defense to score a touchdown that extended their lead to 12-3 with 0:59 left in the quarter.
The Panthers couldn’t do anything in the final minute of action and were set up to punt on fourth down as time expired with the Giants holding a 12-3 lead.
The Giants added to their lead on their first drive of the quarter thanks to a Graham Gano 53-yard field goal that put them ahead 15-3 with just under 13 minutes left in the game. The Panthers benched Darnold and put PJ Walker into the game for their next drive, but it didn’t make much of a difference as the Panthers still went three-and-out and had to punt again.
The Giants drove down the field and once again added to their tally with another Graham Gano field goal to give them an 18-3 lead with 5:54 left in regulation. The Panthers went four-and-out on their next drive and gave the Giants excellent field position deep in Carolina territory with a 15-point lead. The Giants scored a touchdown on their very first play of the drive to put the final nail in Carolina’s coffin. Gano’s extra point was good and the Giants extended their lead to 25-3 with 4:46 left in regulation.
The Panthers tried to score late and started to put something together but failed on fourth down again and turned the ball back over to the Giants with just under three minutes to go in regulation. They were able to run the remainder of the clock out to seal the win and put the Panthers below .500 for the first time this season.