It wasn’t pretty and never close. Things got so bad that Cam Newton was sent to the bench with the game out of hand late in the 4th quarter. It got worse when Steve Smith approached the sulking Newton and lashed into him about not staying positive. I must say that I can see Smith’s point, but he may have gone a bit far. Newton needs to be a leader on this team and the example he displayed last night was not ideal. Especially because it is only in week 3. Newton was obviously upset that he played poorly in a prime time game and was basically embarrassed by New York. However, he has to dust himself off and prepare for the next game. Carolina is now 1-2 and will face a red hot Atlanta team next week, so he should learn for his mistakes so he will play better in a big game.
Smith, however, could have done this behind closed doors. Instead, he decided to let all of America see him on national TV. That will kill team chemistry. We have all seen how teams go way down hill when their top WR and QB start clashing. It never ends pretty, so hopefully Newton will take it all in stride.
As for the actual game, there isn’t much positive to write about. Stewart missed the game again, and the Panthers are now 0-2 without him in the lineup. The offense has done virtually nothing when he doesn’t suit up. I don’t think plugging him in is an instant cure, but he is clearly an important piece to this offense. Cam played probably the worst game of his young career. The Giants defense can be intimidating and they showed why Thursday. Cam completed just over half of his passes and threw 3 to the other team. Playing from behind most of the game, Newton was forced to throw a lot, but he never got in a good flow.
One good note is that Greg Olson had a pretty solid game. He had 7 passes for 98 yards and was one of the few bright spots for Carolina. Coach Rivera had been hyping him up the preseason, but he had yet to really break out. He did that today, and could prove to be an important piece going forward.
The Giants offense never really took their foot off the pedal. Manning was missing Nicks and Hixon, but didn’t skip a beat. Ramses Barden was the big target in this one, hauling in 9 balls for nearly 140 yards. With Ahmad Bradshaw out, Andre Brown filled in admirably, topping 100 yards and two scores. The Giants torched Carolina’s defense, and that is a big concern. We knew it wasn’t going to be great, but this performance really exposed their holes. They will look to rebound with another tough matchup in Atlanta next week.