During warmups, Jerry Richardson typically plays host to the visiting executives. He is routinely seen driving them around on his cart as he shows them the stadium.
This day was different. Jerry was not playing host. Instead, he got out of his cart and made his presence felt in the end zone during warm up drills. At one point I thought he was in danger of being hit by an offensive linemen, but he didn't budge. As they players walked to mid field, Jerry Richardson stood there stoically.
The result was the biggest lopsided victory in Panthers history. The Panthers fired on all cylinders and finally gave fans a glimpse of what is possible with this team.
The defense posted a shutout as I began to actually feel a little sorry for young Eli Manning. Eli frequently decided to hit the dirt before contact was made, a wise decision on his part.
This was the defense that we all dreamed of this offseason. An unrelenting group of men determined to devastate their opponent.
In fact, some of their hits knocked the Giants offensive players cleanly off their feet.
The biggest question mark going in to the game was the Panthers secondary. Thomas Davis challenged them to make a play. The front seven was doing their part, it was time for the secondary to step up and contribute. Melvin White, a rookie out of Lafayette, did so in convincing fashion. His interception of Eli Manning some would say put the nail in their coffin.
On offense we saw the Cam Newton of old. A Cam Newton not afraid to run the ball. A Cam Newton without the leash that Mike Shula had placed on him for two games. It seems the Panthers remembered they have one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the league, and called plays accordingly.
Cam did have an interception (pictured below). Credit the Giants defense for getting in his face and forcing Cam to throw off his back foot. That would be the last time the Giants defense did something worth mentioning.
The Panthers rushing attack also found its mojo once again. Deangelo Wiliams rushed for 120 yards.
Mike Tolbert was not as effective in terms of yards, but very effective in spelling Deangelo and making sure the Giants defensive interior stayed winded.
One thing I pointed out in the pregame was that Cam would need to spread the ball around if the Panthers were to win this game. While it is strange not seeing Steve Smith on the top of the receiving stats, it is for the best.
Brandon Lafell finally got a pair of Cam Newton touchdowns, and was congratulated by #1 in epic fashion...
Tedd Ginn Also snared a touchdown...
and promptly rewarded a lucky fan.
But to me, the play of the game was the Cam Newton QB sneak for the touchdown.
For weeks we have been calling for the Panthers to use Cam on short down yardage. You have a huge and hugely talented quarterback, why would you not run him for a short quick gain? Apparently Mike Shula heard our cries and turned him loose. The result was sustained drives and 7 points.
Once Cam scored that touchdown, I could literally feel a huge weight being lifted off of his shoulders for him. He gave a yell that was more serious than campy. more genuine than contrived. It was pure unadulterated joy, and it was fantastic.
After the game Cam was called over by Eli Manning and exchanged a few pleasantries with him. Cam was all class and wished him the best of luck the rest of the season.