I think there is an unspeakable truth in terms of the NFL: If you turn the ball over more than is normal, then chances are good that you’ll lose the football game.
To a degree, that would happen at the New York Giants new stadium, New Meadowlands Stadium, on Sunday as both the Giants and Carolina Panthers would combine for nine turnovers. Yet and still, Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns – and three interceptions – and would dominate in the second half, allowing New York to win their season home opener by bouncing Carolina 31-18.
The Panthers drew first blood on a John Kasay 32-yard field goal, taking an early 3-0 lead; the Giants would take the lead with 2 seconds left in the first quarter on a Manning-to-Hakeem Nicks TD pass of 26 yards, putting the Giants ahead 7-3.
Carolina would go ahead 9-7 on a pair of FGs by Kasay nearly 10 minutes apart, but New York would reclaim the lead on a 19-yard TD pass from Manning to Nicks, making it 14-9. A 19-yard TD pass from Matt Moore to Steve Smith would put the Panthers up 16-14 going into halftime.
After a 32-yard FG by Lawrence Tynes with 9:03 remaining in the third, New York would go ahead for good as Manning connected with Nicks yet again for a 5-yard score, giving the Giants an insurmountable 24-16 cushion.
Manning had an OK effort as he went 20-of-30 for 263 yards with 3 TDs and 3 INTs while Moore went 14-of-33 for 182 yards with a TD and 3 INT of his own.
Ahmad Bradshaw led all Giants rushers with 76 yards and a TD while Brandon Jacobs added 44 on a dozen carries. DeAngelo Williams led the Panthers with 62 yards on 16 carries.
Mario Manningham led the New York receivers with 85 yards on 4 catches while Nicks caught 4 for 75 yards and three TDs. Steve Smith grabbed 5 for 43 yards. The Panthers’ leading receiver was Steve Smith with 5 receptions for 75 yards and a score while Dwayne Jarrett caught a pair for 40 yards.
New York (1-0) now travels to Indianapolis to take on the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday night while Carolina (0-1) returns home for their season home opener as they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday afternoon.