Giants record: 7-6
This time last year: 9-4
Time of game: 3:17
Stat worth noting: Despite getting routed, the Panthers actually averaged 5.9 yards per play to 4.4 for the Giants and posted 22 first downs to New York's 15.
Stat worth noting II: The Giants were only four-of-18 on third-down conversions but converted both of their fourth-down tries.
Turning point: Late in the second quarter, the Panthers had just tied New York at 10. With three minutes left in the half, Jeremy Shockey took over. First, he got open for a 25-yard catch and run to convert a third-and-five. Then he wisely pounced on Brandon Jacobs' fumble at the Carolina two-yard line. Finally he capped the drive, which gave New York the lead for good, with a two-yard TD catch.
Play to remember: Facing a fourth-and-10 from the Carolina 33-yard line midway through the opening period, Tom Coughlin decided to go for it. Eli Manning rolled left and fired a perfect strike to David Tyree, who had a Panther defender draped all over him, for a 12-yard gain and a first down. That set up New York's first points of the day, a 32-yard Jay Feely field goal.
Play to forget: On a third-and-10 from near midfield in the second quarter, the Giants defense had good downfield coverage. Yet Panthers QB Chris Weinke was able to scramble for 13 yards before Gibril Wilson brought him down. That set up a field goal that tied the game at 10.
10 – Team-high number of tackles for former Giants safety Shaun Williams.
45 – Rushing yards for the run-oriented Panthers, who ran roughshod over the Giants for 223 yards in last year's playoff game.
67 – Career games it took Jeremy Shockey to reach 300 career receptions. He's the second-fastest tight end in NFL history to do, trailing only Kellen Winslow.
"We didn't score enough points. Turnovers were a factor. It wasn't a lack of effort." – Panthers coach John Fox
"Obviously we needed to get into the winner's circle. I'm very happy for our players, and I'm very happy for the win." – Giants coach Tom Coughlin
What went right
Eli Manning played very well, distributing the ball to all of his receivers nicely. Manning tossed three touchdown passes and completed 17-of-33 passes for 172 yards. His final QB rating was 97.0.
Plaxico Burress took over on New York's first TD drive. First, he streaked past rookie corner Dion Byrum down the left sideline and collected a perfect pass from Manning for a 45-yard gain. Then, three plays later, he beat another rookie, Richard Marshall, for a 28-yard TD in the left front corner of the end zone to give New York a 10-0 lead.
While Chris Weinke was throwing the ball all over the place, the Giants were able to pick him off three times. Gibril Wilson intercepted two passes in the third quarter and Kevin Dockery notched one in the final period.
With Tim Carter failing to establish himself as a dependable option, David Tyree stepped up and had a solid game. He caught two passes, including a three-yard TD pass.
The Giants finally received an injury break when Shaun O'Hara appeared to be seriously hurt, yet returned to the game. Barber was thrown into the back of O'Hara's legs. Yet after X-rays came back negative O'Hara returned to action.
What went wrong
Rookie CB Kevin Dockery has had better days. Twice in the first half Dockery, who was playing nickel back, was cleanly beaten by Drew Carter on long pass plays, including a 36-yard TD. Also in the second quarter, R.W. McQuarters knocked away a Chris Weinke pass that Dockery likely would have intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Dockery got his revenge with a fourth-quarter INT.
The Panthers were the first team to really slow down the Brandon Jacobs express. Jacobs was stuffed short of the marker on multiple occasions and also fumbled near the Panthers goal line, which fortunately for him Jeremy Shockey recovered.
Twice the Giants got inside Carolina's 20-yard line and were forced to settle for field goals. While a 50 percent TD success rate isn't the end of the world, improvement in this area is a must.
With Luke Petitgout already out of the lineup, the last thing the Giants needed was another OL injury. Yet that's exactly what they got when Kareem McKenzie was forced from the game with a sprained neck. In McKenzie's absence, Rich Seubert entered the game at left guard and David Diehl shifted out to right tackle.
Here is a breakdown of how each position faired in the game against Carolina…