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(Sunday, September 12th)
Final Score: NY Giants 31, Carolina 18
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes to Hakeem Nicks and the New York Giants rolled in the second half to beat Carolina, 31-18, in the first regular season NFL game at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Manning connected on 20-of-30 passes for 263 yards and overcame three interceptions for the Giants (1-0), who exacted a bit of revenge on the Panthers after they were blown out, 41-9, in their final game of the old Giants Stadium last year.
Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown for New York, which overcame a rough first half when the Giants had just eight yards on the ground.
"We fought through some things early on in the game," Manning said. "Offensively we put ourselves in a whole with a bunch of penalties and things, but we stayed positive, we stayed confident and fought through it and made some great plays."
Matt Moore completed 14-of-33 passes for 182 yards and a TD, but was picked off three times for the Panthers (0-1). He suffered a concussion late in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Jimmy Clausen.
DeAngelo Williams rushed for 62 yards on 16 carries.
"There's no question that they made plays and we didn't, and that was the difference." Panthers head coach John Fox said.
Trailing by two points at the half, the Giants opened the third by embarking on an 11-play, 60-yard march, ending it with a 32-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes. Manning ran for a yard to convert a 4th-and-1 during the drive.
Carolina then fumbled on a punt, giving New York prime field position. Manning connected with Nicks on a five-yard TD pass in the rear of the end zone with 1:42 left in the third and a 24-16 New York advantage.
Bradshaw rumbled 39 yards early in the fourth to set up his own four-yard scoring run, and New York's defense then locked down the win with a couple of big interceptions.
Moore marched Carolina to near the goal line, but on 3rd-and-goal from the four, he was picked off by Terrell Thomas in the end zone with 8:33 remaining.
"It's a tight window down there, advantage defense," Panthers coach John Fox said. "You'd like to see a couple different decisions. It was unfortunate."
Manning was intercepted just three plays later, giving the Panthers the ball at the New York 12, but two plays later Moore threw an errant pass to the end zone, where Kenny Phillips came up with the ball for the Giants.
"When you turn the ball over four times you don't expect to win many games," Manning said. "Our defense did a great job, especially in the red zone getting a couple of turnovers to keep our lead so we can run out the clock. They did a great job of keeping us in the game."
The Panthers blocked Matt Dodge's punt, but the ball went through the end zone for a safety with 3:57 remaining.
Mathias Kiwanuka then sacked Moore, who fumbled the ball away. Even though the Giants gave it right back on a Bradshaw fumble, the Panthers couldn't move the ball from the shadows of their own goal line in the waning minutes. Moore was sacked by Osi Umenyiora and was injured on the play and Clausen came in, but threw two straight incomplete passes before the Panthers punted.
On the Giants' first possession, Manning was picked off by safety Charles Godfrey, setting up Carolina just inside New York territory. Williams ran for 29 yards, but two plays later Moore tried to thread the needle to tight end Gary Barnidge in the end zone, but Giants newcomer Deon Grant made a leaping interception.
The Panthers broke on top on their next time with the ball on John Kasay's 21- yard field goal, but they could have had a touchdown if not for a great arm tackle by Phillips on Williams during a third down run.
Manning threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Nicks, a Charlotte native, with two seconds left in the opening quarter. Nicks got behind Godfrey and cornerback Richard Marshall to make the catch in the left rear corner of the end zone.
Kasay's 52-yard field goal early in the next quarter had the Panthers within a point, and Manning was picked off for the second time as linebacker James Anderson came up with the interception. Carolina was unable to move the ball for near midfield into a first down, but the Panthers got a 43-yard field goal from Kasay with under two minutes left to grab a 9-7 edge.
The Giants then moved the ball 80 yards in seven plays to take the lead. The drive was aided by a pair of pass interference penalties, and a big reversal of an incomplete pass ruling. A booth review ruled Nicks caught a 25-yard pass along the left sideline, moving the ball to the 28. Manning later found Nicks in the end zone for a 19-yard connection, moving New York ahead, 14-9 with 45 seconds left in the half.
Mike Goodson returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards, setting up Carolina at midfield. Moore converted a 3rd-and-2 with a short completion, and two plays later he found Steve Smith for a 19-yard score on a slant pattern with three seconds to go and a 16-14 Panthers edge.
Tight end Kevin Boss suffered a concussion and neck injury on the Giants? first offensive series and did not return...Nicks is the first Giants player to score three receiving touchdowns since Plaxico Burress at Dallas on September 9, 2007...The Giants have now won three consecutive season openers (all at home)...Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn left the game with a sprained knee in the first half and did not return...Phillips, who missed the final 14 games of last season after undergoing microfracture knee surgery, had four tackles...Panthers reserve wide receiver Charly Martin suffered a possible concussion while covering a punt in the first quarter and did not return...The name of Steve Smith led both teams in receiving. Carolina's Smith caught five balls for 75 yards, while New York's had five for 43...The Giants had nine penalties for 95 yards.
09/12 19:15:28 ET
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