The New York Giants thoroughly dominated the Carolina Panthers 36-7 in front of the entire country tonight on Thursday Night Football. There were plenty of terrific stories to follow in tonight’s game from the Giants side of things, and nobody disappointed.
Ramses Barden had a breakout game filling in for Hakeem Nicks. The Giants may have finally gotten Barden enough confidence to take a step forward and be the type of receiver they expected him to be when they made him a third-round pick in 2009. Until now, he has done nothing of note and many thought this was his last year to prove himself. He may stick around after this season after all, especially if he continues to play like he did tonight.
I would like to see Barden play well more consistently, and against a better secondary. He finished with nine catches (tying his 2011 regular season number) for 138 yards.
Andre Brown, who had a bit of a coming out party with 90 total yards in week 2, also exploded in the running game. He had 20 carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns. A fellow 2009 draft pick with Barden, Brown is starting to show why he was a fourth-round choice.
Helping Brown immensely was the fact that the offensive line was significantly better without David Diehl in the lineup. It’s going to be difficult to justify taking Sean Locklear or Will Beatty out in favor of Diehl if they continue to perform like this. Eli Manning was kept virtually untouched all night and picked apart the Panthers, and Brown was given plenty of room to maneuver in the running game.
If the Giants offense can be this balanced all year, they aren’t going to lose many games.
Let’s not forget about the defense who, if not for the emergence of Brown and Barden, would be getting all the headlines. They made Cam Newton look human and not like the Superman he claims to be. The read-option, which has been so successful for the Panthers over the previous two seasons, was held in check by the Giants’ front four.
It was also a night of three-peats, as Martellus Bennett became the first Giants player to catch a touchdown in his first three games with the Giants, and Michael Boley is the first Giants player since 1978 to have at least one interception in three straight games.
The Giants were the road warriors tonight, and sent a message to the rest of the NFL on national television.